zaterdag 4 november 2017

Eilen Jewell Live. Patronaat Haarlem, Thursday 2 November 2017, with The Assorted Travellers

Photo: Wo.
Eilen Jewell staged a perfect show in Patronaat as a shrine for music of years gone by for decades. The great thing about the show is, she does it without an inch of nostalgia or sentimentality. The blues, country and (jazzy) rock and roll is brought into the second decade of the 21st century as if it belongs there and meant to stay.

Previously I had one album in my possession, 'Letters From Sinners & Strangers' from 2007. Since this year her blues tribute album, 'Down Hearted Blues' joined it in my discography. Despite the extremely traditional approach to the album, I found I liked it and decided to go out and have listen.

Eilen Jewell performs as a combo, with husband Jason Beek on drums and washboard, Jerry Miller on guitar and stand up bass player Shawn Supra. This standard line up could lead to a uniformity in sound. Despite this being the case I found it to be broken each and every time by the diverse choice of songs in the set and by Eilen playing a harmonica in a few songs. A record provides more options and she uses them there.

On stage there seemed a permanent fight going on between Eilen Jewell and her microphone. In the audience we had a perfect sound. The balance between vocals and band were excellent. Everything could be heard, understood and enjoyed.

Every other song I found myself impressed by the tightness of the playing, the melodic prowess laid into the songs and by guitarist Jerry Miller who kept searching for the very edge of where he could take notes in his solos. Daring them to tip over just before pulling things back in. "The worst that can happen, is that I have to slide my finger a half note up or downwards", he told me afterwards. Also with little references to famous solos here and there in a few notes starting a solo e.g. The lady up front led the band through it all with her fine voice. There wasn't much doubt who is the star on stage.

Photo: Wo.
The blues album was visited regularly. A great cross-section of the different sorts of blues that have been played in the U.S. between the 20s and 60s. Such differences in approach and sound, all taken on with confidence and a clear love for the genre by the foursome. (Read my review here:

With a solo performance called 'Song Bird' about her little daughter, a song the little girl genuinely dislikes we were told, the encore was started, before it all ended with the song we were promised at the start of the show: 'Voodoo Working', the opening song of 'Down Hearted Blues'. A song in one chord that still is so interesting to listen to.

Photo: Wo.
This ended a perfect show of an evening startimg with a support set by The Assorted Travellers, a Dutch country and western band that dreams of the life Eilen Jewell has made hers. In the songtitles American states and cities came by. I found that this band played real well, authentic. The three piece singing sounded great, also because the addition of a female singer to the line up. So no complaints there. I missed one thing: a hint of danger in the music. It all was so neat and well polished. A little bite here and there would spice things up and make The Assorted Travellers not just good but more interesting as well. As support act the band totally delivered and invited me to listen. For a support act things start there.


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