Several years ago while catching up with a friend from college, I suggested we check out Shake It an indie record store in Northside, a rough and tumble bohemian enclave west of the campus of University of Cincinnati. As friends, we have long shared an interest in music from our days on another Ohio campus, in another college town. Art honed in on Shake It’s growing musical genre referred to as Roots or Americana music. At the time, he had a program on WRUW 91.1 FM, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Art quickly pulled several CDs from among the titles, as suggested listening. Eilen Jewell’s “Sea of Tears” was one of the three CDs that found their way home that day. Since that time, while based in Cleveland, Ohio, Art Hanson’s show “Americana Breakdown” was syndicated on Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU 105.5 FM “bluegrass country”. He plays a mix of ” bluegrass, country, country rock, and Americana.” The show is billed as “music for people who like country music… and for those who don’t… ” As a selective listener, I guess I fit into both categories.
I stumbled across Jewell’s song “Home to Me” in this winsome, unofficial video by Shaun Lee Shafer. Another, from the extensive archives of No Depression of Jewell’s “Santa Fe” features a video by Robert Greim. Certainly my list of American Roots favorites is long, but having seen Eilen Jewell and her band, including guitar phenom Jerry Miller in bijou theaters intensifies the imagery of her lyrics and Jewell’s evocative voice.
In addition to “Sea of Tears” the band’s discography includes: Boundary Country, Letters from Sinners and Strangers, Heartache Boulevard, and Queen of the Minor Key.