Inspired by her experience teaching songwriting at a women’s prison, Eleni Mandell’s 11th studio release, Wake Up Again, is a set of compelling musical portraits. From the dark, dreamy “Circumstance” to the noisy “Be Together,” and the jagged brutality of “What’s Your Handle,” the album highlights Eleni’s strengths as a writer going back to her start under the tutelage of Chuck E. Weiss, Tom Waits and other top chroniclers of people in the shadows. Wake Up Again is a probing look into the lives, the regrets and hopes of those she met, but ultimately also of her and us.

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