The Eilen Jewell Band at the Rosendale Cafe

Eilen Jewell looks like a fairy, has the poise of an old time movie star, and has the voice of an angel — a soulful, bluesy, country-twanged angel. Eilen was playing with her band at the Rosendale Cafe on Thursday and, even an hour and a half before the start of the 8pm show, the place was packed with enthusiastic fans waiting to hear them.

Originally from Idaho, Eilen Jewell has an unmistakable rural tone when she sings and speaks, which blends well with the music she and her band play. Their inspiration is drawn from, but not limited to, Rockabilly, Western Swing, Jazz, Blues, and Gospel. No matter what the song, Eilen performs it with her easy heartfelt charm. Her band is a talented lot as well, comprised of Jason Beek on drums and harmony vocals (he and Eilen’s vocal harmonies are indeed incredibly pleasing), Jerry Miller on electric guitar, and Johnny Sciascia on upright bass. Stripped away from the others they are each excellent musicians in their own right, but together, well… They synthesize into something even more wonderful.

The show started out on a somewhat mellow note, with the band gradually working up momentum and zip. They performed a few covers throughout the evening, including ones by Loretta Lynn, The Sacred Shakers (an eight piece band that the five of them happen to be in as well, a self-described “side project” of theirs), George Jones, and a gorgeous rendition of Charlie Rich’s “Thanks A Lot.” After a break, during which time the band could be found mingling with the crowd, they went on to play a rousing second set. The band had a lot of interplay with the audience, always a fun thing, and a lot of joking and bantering took place. The musicians played some real hell-raising Gospel tunes (yep, hell-raising Gospel tunes, one of my favorite’s being “12 Gates To The City”), and in between those found time to play some raw, stripped down moody songs, as well as some requests.

Eilen Jewell, Jason Beek, Jerry Miller, and Johnny Sciascia stand alone — well, together, but together alone, you know? — guiding like-minded bands (none of which can pull off the sound quite as well as Eilen and the gang) to greater ambitions. As for my ambition? Right now it’s to go listen to Eilen’s new CD, Sea of Tears, again. I recommend buying it, but in the meantime, here are some videos from the show:

Back To Dallas

Dusty Boxcar Wall

Tagging Along With Jesus

Thanks A Lot

The Flood

If You Catch Me Stealing

The band’s encore

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