Eilen Jewell laughs when told her label’s president called her a musicologist. But she confirms she and her husband and bandmate, Jason Beek, have a passion for studying American music.
“We really love to uncover the past. It’s almost like digging for buried treasure,” she says. “For me, that’s where music is at. I like all kinds of music as long as there’s the word early in front of it.”
For her new album, Down Hearted Blues, on Signature Sounds, they unearthed 12 vintage gems written or made famous by an array of artists both renowned and obscure, from Willie Dixon and Memphis Minnie to Charles Sheffield and Betty James. Then, like expert stonecutters, they chiseled them into exciting new shapes and forms, honoring history while breathing new life into each discovery.
"Karen Jonas is an Americana singer/songwriter from Fredericksburg, Va. Her intensely personal songwriting first grabbed national attention with the release of her critically acclaimed 2014 debut album Oklahoma Lottery, and international praise with her second album, Country Songs. Five years of non-stop touring have produced a smoldering live act that’s culminated in her latest album, Butter, which debuted strongly on both the US and UK Americana charts. She’s shared stages with Dale Watson, Alabama, Joe Ely, Bob Schneider, The Lone Bellow, Brandy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Amanda Shires and dozens more—lighting up venues around the country from intimate house concerts and listening rooms to rowdy honky-tonks and outdoor festivals, and a recent showcase at SXSW in Austin, Texas."