Mon 27 Jun 2011 to Sun 3 Jul 2011

by Eilen Jewell

Boston-based singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell, who won countless Australian hearts with her last album Sea of Tears and her first down under tour early last year, returns with a wonderful new album, backed once again by her crack touring band.

On the new album Queen of the Minor Key, Eilen and band conjure up songs depicting broken bottles as protection, bad voodoo and Cupid using a sawed-off shotgun instead of a bow and arrow. The dark, often times haunted tales on the album, out June 24 on Signature Sounds Recordings through Fuse, are fleshed out at points by surf guitar, pedal steel and upright bass, but always hold Jewell’s smoldering voice and unforgettable lyrics centre stage.

Lines like “you picked up a broken bottle, in case anyone gave us any trouble, and we walked all the way back to Cortez” (‘Santa Fe’) and “I showed you how to kiss, I let you shoot my hats off, ‘cause I knew you wouldn’t miss” (‘ Remember You’) showcase Jewell as a lyricist nearing the height of her powers. She’s able to throw out dusky, hyper-detailed phrases, while still finding room for a humorous yet twisted track like ‘Bang Bang Bang’ which depicts Cupid as “about two years of age, a really freaky thing to see, he was bragging about his sawed-off six gauge, hidden right up his tattered sleeve.”

These lyrics did not come easily at first, as Jewell was struck with a severe case of writers block when she began the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Sea of Tears. To help she retreated to a cabin in the mountains of Idaho, where the Boston-based artist is originally from. With no electricity and no running water, she was able to focus on crafting sketches of songs, breaking her block and building the framework of the incredible record, Queen of the Minor Key.

Jewell and her longtime band of Jason Beek (drums, harmony vocals), Jerry Miller (electric, acoustic and steel guitars), and Johnny Sciascia (upright bass) turned the sketches into songs. A tight unit with an innate musical connection developed after playing countless shows a year, the band has an impressive array of styles and sounds displayed fully on the album.

Jewell and her band will tour relentlessly throughout the rest of 2011, and we can look forward to seeing them back down under soon.

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