Album Review

Eilen Jewell, 'Sea of Tears'

April 27, 2009
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Eilen Jewell Sea of Tears
Signature Sounds
ESSENTIAL "Sea of Tears"
Eilen Jewell plays the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on May 8.

According to rising local singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell, you could hear folk, country, western swing, even a bit of jazz on her previous albums, but part of her roots were left out. Her latest release, "Sea of Tears," aims to rectify that omission with a tribute to late '50s and early '60s rock that features Jewell's typically strong songs with a sound built upon the 6- and 12-string work of guitarist Jerry Miller. The album is snaking and reverb-laden on the title track, spacey and shaky on a note-perfect cover of the Johnny and the Pirates classic "Shakin' All Over," rumbling and ominous on the rockabilly-flavored "One of Those Days," and channels early, psychedelic/folk Byrds (with a bit of the Animals thrown in for good measure) on "Rain Roll In" and "I'm Gonna Dress in Black." But Jewell doesn't leave the rest of her past behind, as the bluesy "Final Hour" and the easygoing country of "Nowhere in No Time" attest, and her ability to weave all these musical threads into a sound that is uniquely her own remains intact, too. (Out now) STUART MUNRO