Lizzie Cook: Letter From My Heart
By Tony Parker
Lizzie Cook plays accordion - yes accordion! She also sings and writes songs that are a heady collision of Celtic mayhem, bar mihitzva madness and East European cabaret style all performed with enthusiasm, a dash of humour and an undercurrent of percussive jazziness. And while this may sound like a strange mix, familiar images of marram grass, sandy beaches, the ocean, sun and sky abound in her lyrics placing the songs firmly in a local context. In a way also the accordion tends to camouflage Cook's talent as a jazz chanteuse with some of the standout tracks placing more emphasis on her voice as she moves beyond the boundaries of traditional accordion music. This is most notable on the torch ballad Down to the Beach and the dub style of On the Road Again. Percussion, bass and drums combine well with the accordion, often taking a jazzy detour that at times becomes almost theatrical and it's these excursions that hold the most interest.