Elizabeth Cook and Amanda Shires at the Kessler Theater

Does it take balls to title your album Balls? Elizabeth Cook has them. The Florida-bred country singer-songwriter's 2007 Rodney Crowell-produced album even has a song titled "Sometimes It Takes Balls to Be a Woman," just so you know where she's coming from. 2010's Welder got a little more personal, but Cook's talent for Southern storytelling remains. Lubbock fiddler Amanda Shires is riding a steady wave of buzz for her 2011 album, Carrying Lightning, which balanced dark skies with Shires' heavenly voice.


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