Chris Smither (Photo by Jeff Fasano)
On the 2014 album A Link of Chain: A Songwriters’ Tribute To Chris Smither, a number of artists who have been influenced by Chris’s music cover his songs. Among them was folk-blues enchantress Eilen Jewell. It only made sense for the two of them to appear together on a double bill at The Hamilton Live recently, giving the audience a wonderfully intimate evening of songs and stories.
Doug Martsch leads Built To Spill in a performance at 9:30 Club on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)
The terms “vehicle” or “project” are used occasionally in discussions about bands with a focal instrumentalist or songwriter, and in many cases, these would seem like appropriate descriptions for some of today’s most adored groups with morphing identities.
But the question of how much exploration has been done or how much ground has been covered might be best reserved for the more veteran outfit still striving to outdo itself with each studio album.
In a recent anticipated stop at 9:30 Club, Built To Spill demonstrated that it is indeed actualizing the goal its founder — vocalist and electric guitarist Doug Martsch — set for it 30 years ago: to become an inventive, absorbing indie rock outfit with a rotating cast of members that could help perpetuate evolving substance and sound.
Eilen Jewell (Photo courtesy the artist)
American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as “one of America’s most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices.” That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on 2019’s Gypsy on Signature Sounds.
Eilen hits the road to share her voice with a show at The Hamilton Live on Sunday, May 15.
Doug Martsch of Built to Spill performs at the 9:30 Club on Oct. 4. 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
Fresh off a four-night run in New York, Built to Spill carried their trademark sound to a sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club recently. With the band fast-approaching its 30th anniversary and celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal record, Keep It Like a Secret, Doug Martsch and friends offered a riveting a freewheeling reinterpretation of that record mixed with a few choice cuts around it.
Eilen Jewell (Photo by Joanna Chattman)
Eilen (pronounced ee-len) Jewell’s appearance with her band at Mason District Park on Friday evening was a family affair. Her husband, Jason, plays drums and provides backing vocals. Their darling five-year-old daughter Mavis frolicked amidst the greenery and even joined in the music-making.
Eilen Jewell (Photo courtesy conqueroo)
Americana singer-songwriter Eilen (pronounced ee-len) Jewell’s music mixes the influences of classic country and blues. On her last album, Down Hearted Blues, she covered a dozen classic tracks from that genre. She’s releasing a new album of original songs, Gypsy, next month.
Eilen will perform in Mason District Park on Sunday, July 12 at 7:30pm. The concert is sponsored Fairfax County and is free and open to the public. Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson caught up with Eilen for a chat prior to the show.