If there’s one thing you can say about the woman painted in Kristy Lee Cook’s new single, “Lookin’ for a Cowgirl,” it’s that she isn’t the least bit shy. “I heard you’re on the prowl for a good-hearted woman, wanting real bad to get into somethin’,” the former American Idol contestant sings on this upbeat track, which is cut with equal parts twangy plucks and power guitars — even a little near-rap interlude. “Well baby, that somethin’ somethin’ just might be me.” Cover your ears, Mom.
“Lookin’ For A Cowgirl’ describes me to a T,” she tells Rolling Stone Country on break from a hunting trip about the song co-written with Bridgette Tatum, the mastermind behind Jason Aldean’s massive hit “She’s Country.” In fact, Cook is working with production team New Voice (consisting of members of Aldean’s band — Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Rich Redmond and David Fanning) on a forthcoming album. “We wanted to write a song that was for country girls, and this one pretty much describes me perfectly. I’m just happy that I get the chance to really be me as an artist.”
Originally from Selma, Oregon, a small town that once hosted some of John Wayne’s stallions, Cook is known for her skills on horseback as well as the microphone — she’s a barrel racer and a deft hunter, all talents that would certainly classify one as, well, a cowgirl. But this song is a bit more about female empowerment than cow-roping — she’s “camo” and “ammo,” showing up in jeans a baseball cap, the one doing the fishing, not taking the bait.
“Being a female in the country music world right now is tough,” she says. “Aside from just a few women, the men seem to own it.” So on “Lookin’ for a Cowgirl,” there’s no sweet pining, no submissive cooing — this is a picture of a woman who isn’t planning on laying seductively in the back of her bro-country boyfriend’s pickup truck. She’s going to drive the thing herself, full-throttle.
American Idol certainly has a stellar track record when it comes to turning out country’s future stars (Ms. Underwood, anyone?), and now Cook, an alumnus of Season Seven, is looking to take another stab at super stardom by grabbing the reigns and the creative control. While her first post-Idol LP, Why Wait, included nary a self-penned song, Cook’s been writing actively — partnering particularly with Tatum frequently over the past three years. “She is one of my favorite people to write with because we are like two peas in a pod,” says Cook. “And when we get together we can really write some fun country songs, because we are both true country girls.”
Country, all right — Cook often rides around in her custom camo Camaro, complete with a Browning Buckmar firearm logo on the hood. “It’s pretty funny to see people’s faces when a chick steps out of the car instead of a man. You can’t really take it anywhere without a photo shoot. I almost thought about selling it just because it takes up so much time to run a quick errand.” So what if that defeats the point of camouflage?
“Lookin’ for a Cowgirl” will be available for download on iTunes on Monday.