Mighty Powerful Country Charged Americana.
Even though I have a couple of friends who will regularly travel hundreds of miles to see Eilen Jewell on her regular visits to the UK, she has somehow passed me by and remains a mystery to me.
I can’t think why.
It’s just one of those things.
So, I was quite excited when I received this, her 8th album, GYPSY .
MMMmmmm ……. I instantly liked opening track Crawl, a punchy and bouncy Country Rocker of old, graced by a shimmering fiddle from Katrina Nicholayeff and some excellent guitar interplay from Jerry Miller and Eilen herself.
The pace immediatly drops to a lazy afternoon stroll for Track #2 Miles to Go; and therein lies the beauty of this album and I’m assured, Eilen Jewell herself …….. she can turn her hand and mind to anything in the Americana gamut and put her own distinctive stamp on it.
It’s easy to hear the apprenticeship which started with her busking on the streets of Santa Fe and ultimately touring the world, coming to fruition with clever, intelligent and always accessible songs like the dark and brooding Working Hard For Your Love juxtaposed with the poignantly political 79 Cents (The Meow Song); which should be on every school curriculum across the USA; and the ethereal title track Gypsy, all of which are disparately different but come together to create a series of mood swings that will all end with you smiling, although tears will well in your eyes.
When it comes to choosing a Favourite Song I really am spoiled for choice; there’s the straight up Classic Country of These Blues and You Cared Enough to Lie, which if I didn’t know any better must surely have been a hit for Patsy Cline; but is actually a Pinto Bennett song that Eilen very much brings to life.
Another contender is Fear, which closes the record and straddled Folk, Alt. and Country in the way I normally associate with Ms Nanci Griffith; but I’m going for HARD TIMES, a folk anthem that follows in the footsteps of many songs of a similar title; and in 2019 I’d have hoped such words and sentiments would have been banished to the history books……. but instead of invoking the spirits of Woody Guthrie and Steinbeck; Eilen Jewell is singing about what she sees daily from her window. A sad indictment of our times; but a beautiful song none the less.
This album has been quite a journey for me; and I could see from the first play why so many people are devoted fans, yet she remains unknown to me and millions of others ……. let’s put that right now; go buy this album!
Released August 16th 2019