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The Gypsy in Eilen Jewell

Eilen Jewell’s ‘Gypsy’ reviewed

Eilen Jewell – Photo: LTTL

By Rob Dickens

Eilen Jewell is putting together a distinguished and remarkably consistent catalogue.

This Idahoan siren has been seducing us for a while with her sophisticated vocals over a blend of country, honky tonk, early 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll, surf music and swing. In fact, Eilen Jewell has one of the most beguiling and alluring voices in modern music.

There has always been an intriguing edge of difference to other artists in that sound space, thanks to the grit and panache of her long-standing band. As anyone would attest after seeing the whole product on stage, they deliver their music with a punch. Jewell, drummer /husband Jason Beek, upright bassist Shawn Supra, and mesmerizing guitarist Jerry Miller are formidable.

The new (eighth) album by Jewell and co., Gypsy (out August 16 via Signature Sounds Recordings) is a return to (for the most part) breezy country following her more blues-infused 2017 release Downhearted Blues.

Her first album of original material since 2015 provides us with twelve tracks, eleven written by Jewell and one by colourful Nashville veteran Pinto Bennett** and Mark Alan Webb (“You Cared Enough To Lie”). It also sees Jewell record with an electric guitar for the first time. Gypsy contains songs on life and love but there’s some political sting here that makes this reviewer sit up. With “79 Cents (The Meow Song)”, her serious but not too heavy-handed take on gender pay inequality – “The motherhood penalty” of making “79 cents on the (white man’s) dollar” – is strikingly anthemic (see sound clip below).

For those listeners too self-introspective about their own indecision, you may feel better after listening to the opening track “Crawl”:

I want to crawl right out of my skin
Go back in time, cake walk in red fringe
I want solitude, don’t want to be alone
Want to put down roots, want to be a rolling stone

There is the classic country sound of the aforementioned “You Cared Enough to Lie” and “These Blues”. “Beat the Drum” holds out hope for fellow travellers facing obstacles, while“Witness” captures a mother’s love eloquently. “Working Hard For Your Love” is a stand out, a study in love’s persistence, counterbalanced by the gorgeous “Who Else But You”.

Yes, Gypsy is further proof of Eilen Jewell’s distinguished talent.

Gypsy was produced by Eilen Jewell and Jason Beek and engineered at Audio Lab in Garden City, Idaho.

Jewell and the band are currently touring the USA, eventually landing at AmericanaFest in Nashville in September. (Listening Through The Lens will be there to cover the event). They will then be heading to Europe.

** Jason Beek produced Bennett’s latest album, The Last Saturday Night, with Eilen providing guest vocals

Via Signature Sounds/Conqueroo and Red Eye Australia

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Eilen Jewell’s ‘Gypsy’ reviewed

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Author: Rob Dickens

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