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Sea of Tears [Vinyl]

24 customer reviews

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Sea of Tears
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Vinyl, August 11, 2009
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1. Rain Roll In
2. Sweet Rose
3. Shakin' All Over
4. Sea of Tears
5. Fading Memory
6. Nowhere in No Time
7. I'm Gonna Dress in Black
8. One of Those Days
9. Final Hour
10. The Darkest Day
11. Everywhere I Go
12. Codeine Arms

Product Details

  • Vinyl (August 11, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Signature Sounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,960 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Alexander on May 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One of my favorite CDs of the year, just a notch behind Jenny Lewis' "Acid Tongue." For musical details, I concur with the review by Colin Spence. I also concur with his evaluation of 4 and 1/2 stars but gave the CD five stars to balance out the Amazon tab. Jewell's music is very unlikely to reach mass media saturation (which is good) but it has already (and rather quickly) become popular with radio stations featuring an Americana format (which is also good since it will allow her to make a living, keep her superb band together and record more music in the future). It's not only difficult but also rather foolish to try to compete with a definitive cover version by The Who in their prime (i.e. Live At Leeds. I was so taken by Jewell's take on "Shakin' All Over" that I heard by chance on internet radio, however, that I made a point of finding out the performer and then buying the CD without bothering to listen to any other tracks. Because the CD as a whole is so likeable from the very first listen, this is a great CD to give as a gift to friends who enjoy hearing "undiscovered" musicians.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on May 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Jewell's third album retains the 30s jazz phrasings of her vocals, but the folk and country sounds of 2007's Letters From Sinners & Saints give way to electric guitars that twang like slow-motion rockabilly. No fiddle or harmonica this time, and only a few vocal harmonies supplement the basic guitar, drums, and bass. Dark strums of sustain contrast interestingly with Jewell's reflective vocals, turning Johnny Kidd & the Pirate's "Shakin' All Over" into a contest between cool reserve and hot guitar licks. Imagine the calm and collected Julie London backed by the Blue Caps' galloping Cliff Gallup. The British Invasion also provides Them's "I'm Gonna Dress in Black," rousing Jewell to angry self-pity.

The three covers (which also include Loretta Lynn's "The Darkest Day") have been reworked to downbeat- and mid-tempos that dovetail seamlessly with the blue twang of the nine originals. The opening "Rain Rolls In" contrasts chiming 12-string and a languid vocal with a lyric whose resignation extends to the grave. A similar pairing is heard in the mid-tempo title track, a jaunty vocal mouthing words of romantic misery. The aftermath of rejection threads through many of these tunes, alternating between quests of forgiveness and solitary rejections of the outside world; even the blue-jazz pep-talk "Final Hour" is more an escape from lethargy than a trek towards self-empowerment.

The closing "Codeine Arms" bookends the opener's sense of doom with a consumptive plea that's closer to the ignominy of
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Format: Audio CD
This is my first album by Eilen Jewell. If you combined a less gravelly Lucinda Williams with the purr of Melody Gardot, you'd get something that resembles EJ's voice. She can be a pretty laid back singer too - often with a voice like honey laced with Valium. There's plenty of twang to the guitar playing on this album, but the 'twangyness' isn't over the top. Featured instruments include : 6 and 12 string electric guitar plus steel guitar (most tracks have short guitar solos); in addition to percussion, other instruments played are : acoustic guitar, acoustic and electric bass, and organ on two tracks. The playing throughout is outstanding.

EJ writes songs with melodies that gradually 'creep up' on you, and they have interesting lyrics which are not over-demanding for the listener. The songs are influenced by a variety of styles (rock, rock and roll, country, folk and blues), and I think most have a distinct 1950s/1960s feel to them, with some evoking a mood of 'weary melancholy'. 9 songs are written by EJ and 3 are covers of songs by Johnny Kidd, Them and Loretta Lynn.

Some comments about my favourite tracks :

RAIN ROLL IN - A mid-tempo song with a country/tex-mex flavour. The song's lyrics are a stark reminder of our own mortality; SHAKIN' ALL OVER - Great cover of a song which the British rock and roll act, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, took to the No.1 slot on the UK charts in 1960; FADING MEMORY - A song about a wasted relationship and the need to start again; sung to a classic slow doo wop rhythm - my favourite track; ONE OF THOSE DAYS - A fairly slow tempo song which paints a drab picture of life in smalltown America.

Other standout songs for me are a pair of bluesy numbers : I'M GONNA DRESS IN BLACK and FINAL HOUR.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ford on May 28, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Sea of Tears delivers - big time - on the promise of 2007's Letters from Sinners and Strangers. Expanding on the nostalgic torch and twang of the previous album's Too Hot To Sleep, this is, for me, the best record of 2009. (It's not quite June as I write, but it will be tough to beat.)

While the style and sound consistently recall the 50's and early 60's, this is no rote imitation. Eilen Jewell has absorbed her influences and transcended them. Vocally, she walks a fine line of understatement without ever losing a smoldering intensity. She makes it sound easy, with the seemingly casual approach of someone singing on the front porch, and it's this combination of nonchalance and slow burn that make her voice so compelling. (She retains some of the careworn Billy Holliday style that marked Sinners and Strangers, but the influence is less noticeable with this material.)

Jewell is a major artist, as both a singer and songwriter. She wrote three quarters of the material, and there isn't a weak moment. The three borrowed songs are each a perfect fit. There's vintage Loretta Lynn ("The Darkest Day") and there's obscure Van Morrison ("I'm Gonna Dress In Black", a folky Them track, not a Morrison original). Most impressively, there's Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over", a classic piece early British rock'n'roll that, in most hands, would be corny. Jewell's version is slinky and sexy, and sounds like it was written for Sea of Tears.

Where Sinners and Strangers showcased Jewell's versatility, Sea of Tears is a more appealing record for its consistency. (The band, guitarist Jerry Miller especially, can take their share of the credit for this.
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