Thursday, July 16, 2015

Eilen Jewell - Sundown Over Ghost Town (2015)

If you're listening casually Eilen Jewell's seventh full length album, Sundown Over Ghost Town, exhibits a quiet sameness to many of the tracks. So, in order to fully appreciate her work you need to pay attention. If you do the rewards are plentiful and the subtle differences in her arrangements become readily apparent. That's because the native of Boise, ID has several assets working for her: strong but very feminine vocal chords, the ability to write lyrics that mean something, and a highly professional band.

Jewell's songs reveal an awareness of her surroundings and other people's lives. She lives on the folk side of country and has a little bit of Woodie Guthrie in her soul so she's not interested in the traditional, more commercial subjects of the genre. Instead of bars and trucks she sings about untamed horses and farmers who are about to lose everything.

On "Half Broke Horse" Jewell sings, "No bridled horse can stand him / Or any of his kind / Their hidden laws condemn him / They’re so rigid and refined". Later she compares the sad animal to a rancher who is also a victim of a higher social order, "And we just got our notice / This whole place is going under / The bank’s whip is on us / We won't last another summer."

On "Needle and Thread" the protagonist tells us about a place that's "just one horse shy of a one-horse town" but it's not necessarily where Jewell's own roots were cultivated because on "My Hometown" she sings, "It would sound like my hometown / If sweetness had a sound." On both tunes you can see how deeply the singer-songwriter identifies with the common man and how those feelings inform her music.

Having seen Jewell in concert a couple of years ago I can assure you she's not a depressed woman. She's just a thinker with complex thoughts.

Jewell's band includes her husband and drummer Jason Beek, stand up bassist Johnny Sciascia, and guitarist Jerry Miller who also doubles on mandolin. The singer-songwriter strums acoustic guitar and plays harmonica.

Visit Eilen Jewell's website.

No comments:

Post a Comment