Like an archival Sun session or a long lost Owen Bradley date, Sea of Tears spooks out at you—a rustic ghost swaggering blurring the line between immediacy and our collective bygone. Jerry Miller's foreboding, ringing guitars usher in and accompany Jewell as she sings seductively, laconically, "Someday my life will be over and no one will remember my name." Well, that may or may not be true come Judgment Day, but Jewell's name is becoming very familiar right now and will deservedly continue to do so as Sea of Tears permeates itself into the musical consciousness.
On its surface, Eilen Jewell's second national release and third overall—2007's elegantly resonant *Letters From Sinners and Other Strangers* and '06's dark indie Boundary County— follows a natural growth as a fiercely original artist gives props to her early rock 'n roll influences. But all of the songs, especially I'm Gonna Dress In Black, One Of Those Days, Codeine Arms, Sweet Rose, Rain Roll In, insinuate themselves into the bloodstream, slowing the pulse, giving the sound of the heart more reverb, and lending it more credence than the noisy machinations of the mind.
This is an ensemble locked in and sparse, making each groove its own while creating a haunted, inseparable whole. Jewell's delicate yet emotionally visceral songs steer ,Sea of Tears through a classic Patsy Cline journey of the heart: its broken moments and triumphs; its dark barrooms and darkening bedrooms…its eternal, resilient morning after (Sea of Tears, Fading Memory, Final Hour). Even a cover of Shakin' All Over (oh yea, you can feel that tremor in her thigh) sounds like she wrote it.But interpretation is just one of Eilen Jewell's many musical gifts. Fortunately she has chosen to share them all in abundance on this vital, and in-valuable, new recording.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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