A couple of CD reviews
Hi. I wanted to invite everyone to download for free the latest issue my music mag Modern Acoustic… at http://www.modernacoustic.com. This issue is chock-full of CD reviews of albums about to come out and a couple already out that I think deserve a listen. I really appreciate it. Below, is my review of Eilen Jewell’s “Sea of Tears,” due out on April 21. Other CD reviews in the issue include Sarah Borges’ “The Stars Are Out,” Sometymes Why’s “Your Heart Is a Glorious Machine,” Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson’s “Rattlin’ Bones,” Ali Marcus’ “The Great Migration,” The Bittersweets’ ” Goodnight, San Francisco,” and Marybeth D’Amico’s “Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption.” Feel free to drop by my Modern Acoustic blog at http://www.modernacoustic.blogspot. com. Thanks
EILEN JEWELL, Sea of Tears
Eilen broke on the scene with her critically acclaimed debut, “Boundary County,” back in 2006. Her low-key, ageless Americana sound was often compared to Gillian Welch. Her second album, “Letters From Sinners & Strangers,” added uptempo grooves to her story songs. Now, with “Sea of Tears,’’ Eilen and her merry band of men – Jason Beek on drums, Johnny Sciascia on upright bass and Jerry Miller on guitar – pay homage to ’60s and early ’70s rock with a fabulous mix of 12 original and cover tunes.
Miller, an under-celebrated guitarist, may be the true star of this album. His guitar is brought to the forefront of the band’s sound but doesn’t overpower Eilen’s voice or the rest of the band.
On the opener, “Rain Roll In,” he cooks up an old Byrds sound on his electric and on the rocker “Sea of Tears” he offers a blast of ’70s riffs that will make you feel nostalgic. The band’s take on Van Morrison’s “I’m Gonna Dress in Black” feels like the sister track to the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” thanks to Miller’s ominous riffs. These songs are a treat.
But don’t for a minute think Eilen takes a back seat to any of this fun. Her voice may not have incredible range, but she makes up for that in feel, delivering the lyrics like she’s lived them. “Shakin’ All Over,” a cover of the Johnny Kidd & the Pirates number, will send “quivers down the backbone,” as the song says, and have you moving to the groove.
Other songs of note are “Fading Memory,” which would have fit nicely on “Boundary County,” a slinky, haunting “Sweet Rose,” Loretta Lynn’s country lament “The Darkest Day,” and “Final Hour,” a song that chugs along on a guitar riffs reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Cold Shot.”
Eilen and the band -– who also are at the heart of the Sacred Shakers, a larger group of top New England gospel and bluegrass players – has brought old-timey folk music out of the past and into the present. This little sidetrip back 40 years is well-recommended.