Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The melancholy comes in an unassuming package with Eilen Jewell's songs. It comes to us sometimes in the way that we get it most often - rolling in like a lazy, day-long rain, pulling that soggy look upon our faces and putting that slump in our shoulders, the one that it takes a village of hands to work out. Many of the other times, it comes with a kind of ownership of the sorrows, as if there could be some pride to be found in that sadness that's getting carried around, very much like a dead weight, but as a key part to the body, to the soul.
Jewell treats the melancholy that her characters go through as if it were one of those three people -- dead or alive - that people are asked to choose for the dream dinner gathering when they're being interviewed for fancy magazines and well-read newspapers. She invites it in, first to a sitting room for a cocktail and some chatting and then to the dining area, where there's a seat at the head of the table for it.
She's known where she's going to seat that melancholy all along. She's fine with entertaining it, for there's much to love in the confines of that sadness. It's always a little of both in there and Jewell, with her distinct way of writing a bluesy soul song, strengthens the sense that there's always a fine line between melancholy and nostalgia - between the stuff we wish we could forget and all of the stuff we want to remember.