PHOTOS/TEXT BY TODD GUNSHER
Wednesday evening, Feb. 11, Idaho-born singer-songwriter Eilen Jewell opened her “It’s Alright Ma (It’s Only Snowing)” east coast tour, with a show at the Southland Ballroom in Raleigh. After recording a live CD, then taking much of 2014 off to have a baby, Eilen and her band hit the ground running, playing some new songs from her fifth studio CD slated for release in May. Some of the highlights of the set included Rain Roll In, the beautiful ballad “Santa Fe,” Loretta Lynn’s”Fist City” and, in honor of the then-upcoming Valentine’s day, Eilen’s ode to cupid, “Bang, Bang, Bang.”
After the main set, Eilen took the stage alone to premier “Songbird,” a song she wrote for her daughter Mavis, who could be heard wailing from backstage at times throughout the evening. But Mavis, and the crowd, were quiet as she sang the song; so new that she had to read her lyrics off a music stand. Following that, she brought the band back for a raucous cover of “Shakin’ All Over” which had the whole audience on their feet wanting more.
Eilen’s band needs a special mention at this point, as they have been with her for many years and play on all of her albums. Jason Beek on vocals and drums, and Johnny Sciascia on bass laid down a solid foundation. Then there’s Jerry Miller, who was the best guitar player in Raleigh this night, effortlessly throwing out his blend of country, rockabilly, surf and rock & roll licks throughout the set, with virtually every solo drawing applause from the crowd.
Don’t miss Eilen and band if they come to your town, and be on the lookout for their new CD in May.