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Country music is all about telling stories, and thirtysomething Floridian Elizabeth Cook has plenty of ’em. The youngest of 11 half-brothers and sisters, Cook spent much of her childhood in dive bars, listening to her parents perform. Before long, Cook’s folks dragged her on stage too, where she sang Hank Williams while dressed like a cowgirl. The title of her latest effort, Welder, is a nod to her father, who learned the trade while doing time for running moonshine. Cook uses her rural drawl and little-girl tone for serious observations about her hardscrabble upbringing on “Mama’s Funeral” and “Heroin Addict Sister.” If you’re afraid of feeling weighed down from all that emotional heft, rocking “El Camino” is the perfect lighthearted counterpoint—in a song about cruising with a guy, can you get more inspired than rhyming “mullet” with “annul it?”

COOK PERFORMS WITH JIM LAUDERDALE AT 7:30 P.M. AT THE BIRCHMERE, 3701 MOUNT VERNON AVE., ALEXANDRIA. $20. (703) 549-7500.