Elizabeth Cook
Elizabeth Cook To say that Elizabeth Cook's background is like something out of a country song would be wildly underestimating the entire genre. The youngest of 11 half-brothers and sisters, she grew up in rural Florida where her musician parents met while playing in local country bars. Her father learned to play upright bass in a Georgia prison band while serving 11 years for running moonshine. Her mother, a singer and mandolin player from the hills of West Virginia, wrote her daughter's first songs, including "Does My Daddy Love The Bottle More Than He Loves Me," and had Elizabeth singing on stage at 4 years old.

In contemporary country music, it's a rare performer who will dare to take on the industry on her own hogs-and-kisses terms. But for the artist whom Nanci Griffith has called "this generation's Loretta Lynn," it takes a certain tenacity to meld smart attitude with classic tradition, the credibility of a life lived with genuine hillbilly passion, and the integrity to write an acclaimed cache of uncommonly cool songs.