Get Behind The Wheel pushes Eilen Jewell’s trademark blend of vintage roots-noir into more psychedelic territory. The band’s performances are electrifying here, resulting in Jewell’s boldest album yet, a powerful work of artistic alchemy that transforms heartache into genuine creative rebirth.
Looking back at hard luck with the eyes of a survivor is the simplest way to describe the music from Eilen Jewell’s new album Get Behind The Wheel. It’s heavy without sounding heavy, filled with the joy and freedom Jewell found in taking back the reins of her life after a season of hardships that found her on the verge of quitting music altogether. The resulting album - forged by a woman who is still writing songs, working, performing and co-parenting with her ex-husband and bandmate, and is newly engaged - is some of the finest, most arresting, and emotionally nuanced writing of Jewell’s career so far; a powerful message for not only women but people of all ages. It's never too late to throw out the rulebook and start over. It’s never too late to get back behind the wheel.
Get Behind The Wheel pushes Jewell’s trademark blend of vintage roots-noir into more psychedelic territory, with spacious, cinematic arrangements complementing her revelatory explorations of grief, loss, resilience, and redemption - all with the help of co-producer and multi-instrumental wizard Will Kimbrough (Todd Snider, Hayes Carll, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell).
NPR recently featured the album’s first single, “Crooked River,” noting, “Throughout her career, Jewell has carved a niche between blues and country; here, pedal steel, harmonica, and electric guitar provide the backdrop for her story of climbing back up from a life turned upside down.” While Under The Radar premiered “Winnemucca,” calling the tune “A dusty and winding country ballad, lying in much the same vein as touchstones like Loretta Lynn and Lucinda Williams. Americana UK featured album single “Lethal Love,” writing, “There’s plenty of the rootsy country feel we’ve come to expect from Eilen Jewell on it, mixed in with a smoky sultriness as she sings ‘I want your love or no love at all.’” No Depression included “Crooked River” in their Bonus Tracks column, while Music Mecca praised Eilen’s vocals, calling them “sweet yet decisive.”
An Idaho native, Jewell built her career the old-fashioned way, touring relentlessly with the kind of undeniable live show that converts the uninitiated into instant acolytes. Over the course of nine albums, she’s crisscrossed the globe countless times and shared bills with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Loretta Lynn, Mavis Staples, Wanda Jackson, George Jones, and Emmylou Harris. Rolling Stone lauded Jewell’s “clever writing,” while NPR declared that she has a “sweet and clear voice with a killer instinct lurking beneath the shiny surface,” and The Washington Post mused that “if Neko Case, Madeleine Peyroux, and Billie Holiday had a baby girl who grew up to front a rockabilly band, she’d probably sound a lot like Eilen Jewell.”