Words & Deeds

Album review: Eilen Jewell, 'Live at the Narrows'


Eilen Jewell


There’s no introduction and just a trace of applause to kick off Americana singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell's first live release, a 29-song double album that doesn't waste time. Instead, the Boise native’s old-soul voice reaches out to quickly tug listeners into her abyss of broken hearts and blistering love affairs. Whether she’s drowning in a “Sea of Tears” on “Heartache Boulevard,” or her lover’s got her “Too Hot To Sleep” and acting “Reckless,” it’s a sultry world filled with the mystery of human relationships.

Jewell’s understated vocals and authentic, rootsy approach have won over critics and fans during a decade-long recording career. Her sly-as-a-fox road band deserves credit here, too. Never ostentatious and often treading lightly, the trio provides a delicate but muscular framework for Jewell’s seductive voice. Deeply gifted guitarist Jerry Miller is tastefully flashy at all the right moments. Toss in a handful of deftly treated covers, and you have an excellent if lengthy live document — not just for fans but for newcomers to the dark Jewell shine.