Monday, May 10, 2010

Eilen Jewell at the Bull Run

Sarah took the train out to West Concord on Friday and we headed West, stopping at J.P. O'Hanlon's for a pint of Old Speckled Hen and then driving out to the Bull Run. Our seats in the Sawtelle Room were at the table right in front of the main mic and we were the last ones at the table. The others were all enthusiastic Eilen Jewell fans and we were assured that we were in the right place.

After a quick turkey club I stopped in the gentlemen's lounge and ran into Jerry Miller, who was very gracious when I told him we were really looking forward to the show. The Billy Parker Project opened and really got the crowd going with great country/rockabilly guitar work and very good songwriting. The highlight for us was when the bass player dedicated Why You Been Gone So Long to his 6-year old. We're all in favor of singing about getting stoned and letting the past paint pictures in your head to impressionable young people (seriously!).

Then the Eilen Jewell band came on for an introduction, and then Eilen came out in her pearls and her little black dress (all the band was wearing black ... I had told the guy in the lounge that you could tell the band from the audience by the colors of their clothes). She was dynamite as always, opening with Rain Roll In, and singing the hits like High Shelf Booze, Fist City, and Heartache Boulevard. The crowd was hollering for Shaking All Over throughout and she finally got to it when everyone was ready. It seemed all the folks there were fanatics; our table was certainly shaking. She did one song I hadn't heard (second or third of the set), and announced that her upcoming record was going to be an all-Loretta disk, so I guess they haven't been working on new songs, but who cares? Eilen also did several Billy Holiday tunes, showing her ease at stamping a great song with her own brand.

I was hoping she'd play Dress in Black and shouted it out when Eilen asked for requests (well, being so close I didn't have to shout). She vacillated, but Jason Beek was driving the band hard and opined that they should "stick with the plan." They did ... and when they came out for an encore they did Dress in Black, singing the key line as "Way up in the hills of Shirley." That was the plan I guess. I sure went home happy.

All in all it was one of those wonderful musical evenings that lift you way beyond your Friday or everyday concerns. How could anyone not be inspired by Jerry Miller's guitar or Eilen's shimmying?

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