DIARY - 12 FEBRUARY 2012 - EILEN JEWELL CD REVIEW
SEA OF TEARS (SIGNATURE-SHOCK)
EILEN JEWELL RIDES A DUSTY BOX CAR
of codeine brings the high spirits down/ spirits in my glass will wash
the codeine down/ when the shotguns ring I won't feel a thing." -
Codeine Arms - Eilen Jewell.
belle Eilen Jewell cut Eric Andersen's Dusty Boxcar Wall on her
second album Letters from Sinners and Strangers she resurrected
a classic buried in the sands of time.
It worked but not just because the Boise born balladeer brought new life
to a timeless treasure - it was also her deft delivery.
The singer, who toured here in 2010, has since released Loretta Lynn tribute
album Butcher Holler and Queen of the Minor Key in 2011.
Eilen won an enthusiastic following on her previous tour at the Port Fairy
and Mossvale folk festivals and the East Brunswick Club.
She returns in April for the Byron Bay Blues Festival and other east coast
We don't have the new disc so we'll backtrack to her third album, Sea
She produced it with her long time band - drummer Jason Beek, guitarist
Jerry Miller and upright bassist John Sciasica.
Jewell proves a melancholic minstrel from entrée Rain Roll In,
as the narrator fears she won't be missed when she dies young, through
to the narcotic finale Codeine Arms.
Codeine dulls the metaphoric pain but not Jewell's passion.
The thorny Sweet Rose belies its title but dynamic Sea Of Tears,
Fading Memory and blues rooted Final Hour are salient signposts
to lachrymose lava flowing from the pen and maybe heart of Jewell.
OF THOSE DAYS
"I'm over here with a rusted 44/ sitting on the step of your back
door/ the only thing that moves is the laundry on the line/ and a dusty
dog that bites just to kill the time." - One Of Those Days - Eilen
is One Of Those Days where her character has a warning for her
observers might suspect Jewell, now 32, is an eternal victim but she
delivers summary justice in rollicking Nowhere In No Time -
an assertive leaving anthem where the singer drives the train.
On her Letters From Sinners & Strangers album she exploited
train and highway metaphors in wanderlust anthems - Rich Man's
World and Blue Highway.
Loretta Lynn epic The Darkest Day is delivered here with a
jaunty swing - she yearns for and promises sunshine at the end of
a tumultuous tunnel.
That spiritual spring segues into the vibrant Everywhere I Go.
of Johnny Kidd's oft-recorded Shakin' All Over is superfluous -
a song, long ago decomposed by The Who and The Guess Who.
But it works live - as proven on her 2010 Australian tour.
Ditto with funereal sixties Them tune I'm Gonna Dress In Black.
That's the danger of pillaging the past - especially for a prolific writer.
The Idaho native and member of gospel group Sacred Shakers, who also cut
a 2008 album, punctuates her acoustic guitar playing with cameos on organ.
Her impassioned delivery injects life into bleak messages that make the
trip worth the ticket.
Her songs have also appeared on TV shows True Blood, Hellcats and
It's a far cry from busking on the streets of Santa Fe while at college
in New Mexico, Venice Beach and famed folk clubs such as Club Passim.
In August 2010 Jewell wrote for her Queen Of The Minor Key album
in a tiny cabin in the mountains of Idaho.
Her temporary abode had no running water or electricity - at the end of
a winding dirt road.
A dilapidated truck she found on the property was featured in the album
CLICK HERE for Tonkgirl's Gig Guide
for the Jewell 2012 tour dates in Victoria and beyond.
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