Eilen Jewell – The Powerstation March 17, 2012

Anyone with even a passing interest in rootsy Americana should have been at The Powerstation on Saturday night. As it was, just a few hundred fans showed up to witness Eilen Jewell and her band. But those that did turn up were rewarded with one helluva show.

Jewell, who hails from the American state of Idaho, has just making waves over here with her fifth album, Queen Of The Minor Key. But she proved during her Auckland show, that there’s a lot more where that came from.

After a fine set from Bernie Griffin and his Grifters, Jewell’s band (guitarist Jerry Miller, drummer Jason Beek, upright bass player Johnny Sciascia) came on playing the surfy instrumental Radio City. The diminutive Jewell then joined them and launched into three more songs from the latest album, the moody I Remember You, a slinky Warning Signs and the rockin’ ode to Cupid, Bang Bang Bang.

Then they played the first of three songs from their 2010 album, Butcher Holler: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn, You Wanna Give Me A Lift. Lynn’s songs seem to fit Jewell’s vocal style perfectly…a little bit country and a whole lotta rock & roll.

Further into the set they got into a gospel groove with the Rev. Gary Davis tune Twelve Gates To The City, a song they had recorded with the Sacred Shakers back in 2008. Then it was a rockabilly cover of Johnny Kidd’s Restless and Loretta Lynn’s Fist City. I had to laugh at the tiny Jewell; shaking her fist…she didn’t look like much of a threat. But by then the band was on fire.

Guitarist Jerry Miller was especially impressive. He got a beautiful twangy sound out of his Gretsch, never overplaying, but adding plenty of spirit. He was particularly awesome during the set closer, Shakin’ All Over, when he proceeded to toss in licks from Paint It Black, Mother’s Little Helper and Day Tripper.

After performing 22 songs, Eilen and the band returned for one encore…the title track from Queen Of The Minor Key, before heading over to the merchandise table to chat with her, now, very enthusiastic, fans.

Eilen Jewell and her three excellent band mate proved that simplicity is the best approach to playing this particular brand of music. That’s just what they did, kept it simple, straightforward and a whole lotta fun.

Next time Eilen Jewell comes to New Zealand, be sure you don’t miss her.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to Eilen Jewell perform Restless at The Powerstation: 

Eilen Jewell set list:

  1. Radio City
  2. I Remember You
  3. Warning Signs
  4. Bang Bang Bang
  5. You Wanna Give Me A Lift
  6. Heartache Boulevard
  7. High Shelf Booze
  8. Rain Roll In
  9. Santa Fe
  10. Gotta Get Right
  11. Twelve Gates To The City
  12. Restless
  13. Fist City
  14. Mess Around
  15. Where They Never Say Your Name
  16. Sea Of Tears
  17. Blue Highway
  18. Sweet Rose
  19. Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)
  20. If You Catch Me Stealin’
  21. I’m Gonna Dress In Black
  22. Shakin’ All Over
  23. Queen Of The Minor Key