Eilen Jewell’s Sea of Tears
Apologies for how quiet it’s been round here: I’ve been caught in a nightmarish vortex of work and sick children, which has rather overwhelmed everything else (not least because I’ve been desperately trying to carve out time to get this bloody novel finished as well). I’m really, really hoping I’ll be getting a few things up over the next week or so, but in the meantime, I thought I’d give one of my most recent musical discoveries a spin.
The artist in question is the amazing Eilen Jewell, who I found via a recommendation from Tim Dunlop. I’ve only really heard her most recent album, Sea of Tears, but it’s a corker. At first blush you hear the electric folk sound of the Dylan era, but there’s nothing retro about Jewell’s voice, or the intelligence and feeling of the music. I know Tim’s a big fan of the closing track, ‘Codeine Arms’, which is indeed brilliant, but I think there are several tracks on the album which give it a run for its money, in particular the title track and the opener, ‘Rain Roll In’. All of which is a long-winded way of saying it’s a brilliant album, and Jewell’s something pretty damn special.
Glad you like this. And I do love Codeine Arms, but Rain Roll In does definitely give it a run for its money. I love the pace of that song. Truth be told, there isn’t a bad song on the album and I guess the thing that holds the whole thing together is her voice, which I think is just superb.
Codeine is a much neglected drug in the annals of popular music. The only other definite sighting I have for it is in Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Waiting Around to Die’:
Now I’m out of prison, I got me a friend at last
He don’t steal or cheat or drink or lie
His name’s codeine, he’s the nicest thing I’ve seen
Together we’re gonna wait around and die.
James, it’s worth chasing up her earlier albums too. On Letters to Sinners and Strangers she covers Dylan’s Walking Down the Line.
Jon, I first came across that song when Townes sang it in his kitchen to a neighbour in that marvellous documentary Heartworn Highways, reducing the neighbour to tears (in a good way)
I like Jon’s notion of codeine as the forgotten drug. And will definitely be checking out the other albums.
A new sighting of codeine here (but there are actually quite a lot of songs with this name on iTunes now that I’ve bothered to look):