Eilen Jewell – Butcher Holler

January 01, 1970





Eilen Jewell,
the sweetheart of Boise, Idaho, continues to re-invent herself with Butcher Holler, a deep bow in the
direction of 1988 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Loretta Lynn and named
for her Kentucky hometown. With Jerry Miller’s “outta the way, bub”
bandsaw guitar cutting down trees that stand in her way, the dozen honky-tonk
gems found here aren’t really that much of a stretch from the folk-rock,
roadhouse Americana and British Invasion staples that made Jewell’s last two
LPs (Sea Of Tears, Sinners And Strangers) such eye-openers.
Except in attitude.


The only
niggling problem I have here is Jewell’s voice. It’s a stunningly beautiful
instrument that radiates confidence and would be a natural to dig into the
great American pop songbook once covered by jazz singers Blossom Dearie and
Anita O’Day. But it has a tough time selling the Sandy Posey-like “You’re
born to be stepped-on, lied to, cheated on, and treated like dirt” trip.
From talking to Jewell for a European magazine, I got the feeling she’s no
“somebody done me wrong” kind of girl. She may be slight in stature,
but I wouldn’t be surprised if she could arm-wrestle any of the three guys in
her excellent band-Miller, bassist Johnny Sciascia and drummer Jason Beek-into
submission. Loretta Lynn in her 1966 Country chart-topper “Don’t Come Home
A’Drinkin’  (With Lovin’ On Your
Mind),” covered here, may have been content with telling the guy
staggering into her bedroom in the wee hours to “stay out there on the
town and see what you can find,” but I’ll bet Jewell would drop-kick the
big slob down the stairs and file divorce papers in the morning.


Post Script: OK,
OK, I’ve just wallowed in the pure backroads misery of “Another Man Loved
Me Last Night” for about half an hour, and I’m convinced: Eilen Jewell
sounds right at home in the dim lights and thick smoke of loud, loud Country
Music. She could probably pull off reggae, gangsta rap and grand opera with
equal aplomb, if she had a hankering.


DOWNLOAD: “Don’t Come Home A’Drinkin’ (With
Lovin’ On Your Mind),” “Another Man Loved Me Last Night”  JUD COST


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