Corinne Cook isn’t one to wallow. Oh, she’s spent her time coping with heartbreak – but these days, she’s not dwelling on past mistakes. Instead, she’s giving herself a week to get over her break-ups, and after that, she’s on to more important stuff. “One Box of Tissues” is all she’s allowing herself – because life is too short to be spent crying on the sofa. Once she’s done, she’s done; over it, and ready for the next adventure.
That sort of self-possession is apparent all over Yes I Can, the latest album from the Nashville Industry Music Award winner. Cook took that prize for the forthright “I Don’t” from her 2015 set Dressed Up for Goodbye, and she’s followed up that victory with songs that are even more candid, gutsy, and plainspoken than her prior successes were. The motivational title track celebrates female achievers – women who triumphed in the face of great adversity and long odds. A cover of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” radiates self-respect. “Seven White Stars” tells the story of a war widow and “Devil’s Heaven” centers on a worker in a strip club, and it’s a testament to the flexibility and compassion of Cook that she demands the same dignity for both of these characters.
“One Box Of Tissues” is similarly anthemic. Cook has taken her hits, and not only is she still standing, but she’s determined to bounce back as energetic as ever. She sings it with the grit of a survivor and the righteousness of a woman with plans that won’t be derailed by a misbehaving man, and she’s backed up by some of the finest musicians in Nashville, including guitarist Scott Neubert (Emmylou Harris, Larry Gatlin), drummer William Ellis (Montgomery Gentry, Martina McBride), and bassist Dow Tomlin (Wynonna Judd, Sugarland). Corinne Cook is the new face of country music: resilient, open, accepting, indomitable, and, yes, female.
Nina Baldridge’s sassy clip for “One Box Of Tissues” opens with a shot of Corinne Cook at home, lovelorn, in front of an old white spinet, addressing the camera with a heartbroken expression. But twenty seconds into the video, it becomes clear that this is no old-fashioned weeper. Instead, Baldridge highlights one of Cook’s most endearing qualities: her great sense of humor. Cook and the director give us a comically exaggerated version of recuperation from a break-up, including loads of junk food, commiseration with reluctant friends, and wine sipped through a straw. It’s all strictly on the clock, of course – and after seven days and an empty Kleenex box, she’s finished, confident, and entirely unbroken.