by Kim, 19th Nov 2009...
Eilen Jewell occupies a complex mis-mashed space between americana, alt country, jazz, blues and singer/songwriter and a million genres in between. Sounds terrible, huh ? The first time I tried to describe it to someone I watched their face contort at trying to imagine what in the hell that could sound like. Strange thing is, it’s not terrible. In the slightest. It’s intoxicating, beautiful, soulful, and the kind of music that you slip inside like an already occupied bed - and have listened to twice before you even know it.
Eilen cut her performance teeth busking on Venice Beach early this decade, before heading back to her native Boston and becoming a part of the city’s folk community. She has to date recorded one self released, two studio albums and one with her gospel side project The Sacred Shakers (you really should check our their rendition of John The Revelator, it certainly puts one Mr Billy Childish’s version into perspective).
The music she makes draws from so many different influences, it’s not firmly entrenched in any one scene and therefore is the definition of accessible.
Her first solo studio offering 2007's Letters from Sinners & Saints was my introduction to her and I fell for it in a big way. Coming on like some kind of prohibition era sultry songstress her honey dipper vocals purr through the songs. She’s either the female Greg Dulli, or the woman who would prove to be his match. The record oozes with booze and men and turning bad after being wronged. It’s uber-cinematic and wouldn’t feel out of place as the soundtrack to a Tennesse Williams play or even some vintage David Lynch. Stand out tracks include Too Hot to Sleep and High Shelf Booze. One play and you’ll be hooked.
Her second studio album, this years Sea of Tears ditches the fiddle playing prevalent on her earlier works and replaces it with an altogether more rock and roll edge. Suddenly you can hear The Animals, The Byrds and a whole lot of Rockabilly thrown in the mix. Her cover of Shakin’ All Over is the sexiest damn rock’n’roll song you will ever hear.
She’s currently mid way through an epic US tour with no UK dates in sight: pick up a copy of her record (both are available on emusic) and join me in writing her embarrassingly fangirl-ish emails begging her to come visit.