Release Date: Jun 28, 2011
Record label: Signature Sounds
Genre(s): Country, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Folk, Roots Rock, Country-Folk, Traditional Country
Eilen Jewell's music lives in a middle ground between vintage country and the blues, and her plain-spoken but artful songs serve as an apt reminder that there's more the two styles share than there is that keeps them apart. Jewell's sixth album, 2011's Queen of the Minor Key, is her first release since her tribute to the songs of Loretta Lynn, Butcher Holler, and while Jewell wrote all 14 songs on this set, one might guess she was thinking Patsy Cline during these sessions after previously contemplating Cline's friend Loretta. There's a darker, late-night feel to this music than on most of Jewell's previous material, and though there are also a handful of uptempo numbers on board, the songs on Queen of the Minor Key are more than suitable accompaniment for late-night cocktails, a cigarette with a clandestine lover, or other walks after midnight.
According to the title song, on the day Eilen Jewell was born, a gypsy told her mother that Jewell would be the “Queen of the Minor Key”. That’s a honky-tonk queen a la Kitty Wells or perhaps Shel Silverstein’s “Queen of the Silver Dollar” type of country bar room royalty. Jewell sings about her fate over a romping rockabilly beat that indicates this while she may be the “queen of melancholy”, this ain’t no sad song.
Her understanding of rock'n'roll, gospel, folk and country has a profound depth. Martin Longley 2011 Firstly, this disc is blessed with an evocative title, and its song of the same name delivers the sounds to match. Where do we place Jewell, this country miss who also sounds like a darkly mysterious rock'n'roller, a blues-gal, a purveyor of garage exotica? She appears to be quite naturally gravitating toward several scenes simultaneously, well-versed in the manners of each form.