Americana Star Elizabeth Cook Experiences the True Magic of Macon

The singer/songwriter and beloved SiriusXM host gets a taste of the city’s music history with a side of biscuits and a good fried pork chop

Elizabeth Cook’s journey to Americana acclaim and international recognition wasn’t exactly a straight line. In fact, it started out in accounting.

“I went off and got a real job with structure and insurance, nice clothes…but man I did not jive with that culture at all! I could do the work fine, but not the culture of it,” she revealed while chatting with Visit Macon for their Macon Music series.

In a cosmic twist of fate, Cook was given the opportunity to write songs for a living through a publishing deal on Nashville’s famed “Music Row.” From there, her unique and expansive career began to blossom, and although the road to now continued to twist and wind for the singer/songwriter and SiriusXM radio host, Cook says that the detour has truly made her journey worthwhile.

“I’ve had such a rich life experience because of music, and I’m grateful for that,” she said with a smile.

That road recently brought her to Macon, Georgia for a packed-out, intimate show at Capricorn Sound Studios, where Cook gave the crowd a taste of her lilting twang, delightfully sharp wit, and the songs to match. For its part, Macon gave Cook a taste of its magic through history and true Southern hospitality, both on and off the plate.

Elizabeth Cook at H&H Soul Food in Macon, Georgia (photo courtesy Big Hair Productions)

Over breakfast at the famed H&H Restaurant, Cook reminisced about the rich culture surrounding her as she enjoyed fried eggs with a slice of cheese, grits, a biscuit, and of course one of the spot’s signature offerings: a damn fine fried porkchop.

“Good fried pork chops are just a little harder to come by,” Cook admits. “I can get fried chicken up and down the road a little further than I can get a good fried porkchop.”

Locals and tourists in the know understand that H&H’s magic simply boils down to time-honored tradition when it comes to both the no-fuss soul food and the presence of music royalty that still lingers in the air and decorates the photo wall to this day. For a fan like Cook, the quaint spot also serves as a portal to her own past.

“Looking at those Allman boys and the music was the soundtrack… I see my family and my culture, and the beautiful thing that happened between black and white culture in Macon, bridged by music. It’s special that, in that time, people like Otis Redding and Little Richard could flourish. It’s just another piece of the puzzle that makes sort of the wheel that is the vibe around here.”

“When you hear ‘Macon’, to me you know you’re in the South. The beat is just a little bit slower. The tones are just a little more laid back and the intensity is in the emotion,” she said.

“It’s a vibe. It’s a specific vibe. When you hear music from Macon it sounds like brotherly love, unity, and a good time.”

Karla Redding-Andrews shares stories of her father at the Otis Redding Museum in Macon.

Cook is no stranger to the magnitude of Macon’s musical history as a soul and southern rock fan herself. Like so many who grew up entrenched in the history and culture around the area, she understands that the movement was and has always been about so much more than just the music. As she strolled through local spots like Fresh Produce Records and took in the Otis Redding Museum in downtown Macon, Cook reflected on the significance of the music that has come out of the city.

“Southern rock helped break down social, racial, and cultural barriers and just marry everybody in music,” Cook said. “It’s heavy to walk around a place like Capricorn Studios and realize the music that’s been made here.”

The weight of the room’s legacy is met with this cosmic pull of inspiration for Cook and so many others, like Eddie 9V and Grammy-nominee Brent Cobb who’ve both recorded in the space since its rebirth in 2018. And even if you’d just love to walk around and experience the studio’s interactive museum room and archives on display and the rest of Macon’s rich music heritage, that’s fine, too, in Cook’s eyes.

“I think anyone could have a great time in Macon, Georgia if you’re a music fan. If you can’t then you just can’t have a great time, I don’t know!”