We hadn't seen Eilen Jewell in a long time, after seeing her all the time. She's moved back to Idaho after cutting her musical teeth in Boston, and we missed her! Went to Sinclair on a suddenly temperate Saturday night (2/22) to see her, with Eric Royer opening.
We got a parking place on Cambridge Common after circling just once and waited in line for quite a while after the "doors opening" time of 8:30 ... good thing it wasn't freezing. Sinclair had set up seats!?!? on the floor, so we grabbed first row, which turned out to be a bad decision in some ways because they have weird lighting behind the stage that shone in our eyes all concert long, and the monitors blocked our view of the band to some extent.
Royer came out with his one-man band device, a 5-string banjo, a harmonica around his neck, and a homemade lap steel that may have had a zither in its ancestry. His was a nice set, but I kind of wish he'd stick to the banjo instead of the ultimately-monotonous one-man setup.
Then Eilen and the guys came out, and it was instantly obvious that there was a baby on the way. She says she's due in June, but she seemed a little farther along than that to me and Sarah. She was delighted to be back with her home-town crowd, who knew all about and loved her music. She introduced several songs with some local contextualization, which was a nice touch.
They have a studio record in the can (no release date yet) and are working on a live record that may come out first. Eilen doesn't know if she'll be touring any time again soon with the baby on the way, and she seemed saddened by that, but that's reality. We'll see her again sometime I'm sure.
In the meantime, they played an excellent show for us that night, with a few of their new songs pulled in. Highlights were High Shelf Booze, Santa Fe, Rain Roll In, Dress In Black (which she sang, "high in the hills of Cambridge"), Fist City, and many, many others. They cut some of the songs short so they could fit more in!