An emerging contemporary country artist who deeply inhabits the emotions of every song she sings, Corinne Cook went all out on the cover of her latest album to show what it’s like to be Dressed Up For Goodbye. She’s sitting on a hardwood floor, partially dressed, with a bunch of shoes sprawled before her, a beautiful red dress hanging there. Reflecting the lyric of the heartbreaking ballad title song, she knows her lover is going to break up with her – but she’s going to go through the ritual of looking her best and put on the dress one last time. He used to want her to take it off, but this time, because “there’s nothing quite like getting dressed up for goodbye,” it’s staying on.
The title of the album is ironic because even as the multi-talented Nashville based performer sings of preparing for goodbye, Corinne is introducing herself as a dynamic new voice on the indie country scene. She’s enjoyed moments of success in the past, with the title track from her album I’m Not Shy reaching #4 and “Uninvited Guest” hitting #1 on the Inside Country chart. But when she recorded her first two albums, she lived in California and had to limit her recording time to a few days or a week visiting Music City. Having lived in and around the city for a number of years allowed her to develop a deeper vision - and to choose and to record songs she not only liked but that truly allowed her to share chapters of her life story.
As the adage goes, you can tell a lot about a person by the company she keeps – and on Dressed Up For Goodbye, Corinne’s working with Nashville’s elite, including some of the city’s top session musicians. Six of the tracks were written or co-written by The Warren Brothers, Brett and Brad Warren, whose four albums have produced nine charting singles and who have co-written hits for Dierks Bentley, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride and, for Toby Keith, the party anthem, “Red Solo Cup.” Three songs were co-written by the album’s producer Denny Martin, who has written and helmed projects for hundreds of indie country artists over the years. She found two other songs, the high energy romp “Dirty Little Secret” and the passionate piano driven ballad “I Don’t” (done as a duet with opera singer turned country upstart Paul Scott) via the empowering artist resource Song Matchmakers Network.
“The biggest difference between my earlier albums and Dressed Up For Goodbye is the fact that on those, I didn’t have the opportunity to choose the songs I wanted to record,” says Corinne. “I was able to pick some songs that applied to my life but overall because of the circumstances of my recording deals not able to really paint a full portrait of who I am. The new album is a much more vibrant and personal expression. These 11 new tunes all reflect different parts of my life, and many situations and scenarios that I have actually experienced, from the strength and confidence of the ‘don’t mess around with me’ vibe of ‘Little Miss Understanding’ through the vulnerability and heartbreak of the title song.”
“In the years between recordings,” she adds, “I missed being part of the excitement of making music, but just recording a bunch of good songs wasn’t going to be enough for me this time. It was important that I related to and lived every one of them. I wanted to hit on things that not only resonated with me but would also universally speak to the experiences of other people as well. For me, one of the most emotionally powerful songs is ‘Long Before Goodbye,’ which is a song reflecting on the signs someone may have shown before they committed suicide. I had a relative who died that way, so it’s very personal to me. Over the years, I’ve learned that technically perfect vocals aren’t as important as portraying the emotion of the song so listeners feel and connect with the artist’s authenticity.”
Another track that Corinne, a devoted mom and family woman, perfectly connects to is “Turning Off The World,” a high energy pop rock influenced fantasy about getting away from the stresses of day to day life. Other key moments on Dressed Up For Goodbye include the mid-tempo ballad “Who,” about caring perhaps a bit too much for a wayward lover who goes off drinking too often; “He Loves Her Like Crazy,” a hard hitting tale of domestic abuse featuring steel guitar ambience and one of Corinne’s most searing vocals; the stark, heartbreaking power ballad “Fall Apart,” about the importance of coming to terms with pain in an effort to put the pieces back together; the reflective traditional country ballad “Cowboy”; and the hopeful and spiritual, blues tinged country rocker “Lord Have Mercy.”
Born in Walnut Creek and raised in the Central California towns of Tracy and Escalon, Corinne says she doesn’t “remember a time when I wasn’t singing.” Surrounded by an intensely musical family, she recalls many family jam sessions with her mom on guitar, step dad on bass and brother beating on the chairs (drums) while she sang. Overcoming her initial shyness about singing in front of audiences, she participated in choir from middle school through high school and was selected to sing several solos in high school performances. She later incorporated singing into her sting in the Air Force, which she joined after graduation at 17. She returned home to Tracy after serving four years during the Gulf War.
Reconnecting with her passion for singing and performing, Corinne began singing at festivals in Northern California and worked part time as a radio DJ for the classic country station 93.9 “The Ranch” in Ripon, CA. As her radio persona “Ranch-Hand Jane,” she hosted karaoke for the station at various venues and presented legendary country artists like Charlie Daniels and Johnny Lee when they performed in town. Corinne later moved to Mt. Juliet, 20 miles East of Nashville, to focus on developing her career as a singer. She performed at more festivals and enjoyed radio play for her I’m Not Shy album. She put things on hold again after having her youngest son. He was born with a cleft lip and palate and required several surgeries, so she stopped traveling to stay home and take care of him.
Corinne began working on Dressed Up For Goodbye two years ago while also developing her songwriting chops and performing in community theatre plays in Mt. Juliet. She began performing at songwriters’ nights in the Nashville area, gigging at such places as The Commodore and the Millennium Maxwell House. “I definitely enjoy performing live,” she says, “but my absolute favorite part of being an artist is being in the studio, feeling the energy and feeding off the creativity of all of these great musicians. Performing my vocals on top of all that during the sessions for Dressed Up For Goodbye was exhilarating and I can’t wait to go back in and start my next project!”