Eilen Jewell's 2007 breakthrough album, Letters from Sinners and Strangers
(actually her second release), introduced an incredible songwriting talent to the world. The buzz around her third effort has been long and loud, and Sea of Tears
easily meets those expectations.
Sad Songs and Heartbroken Laments
Sea of Tears
is a pretty melodramatic title, but this record earns it. Kicking off with "Rail Roll In" (purchase/download
)—a tune about the expectation that nobody will remember you after you've died—Jewell sets the stage for a collection of tunes that is just flat-out sad. The title track's guitars (purchase/download
) sound like they were borrowed from the opening titles of a Quentin Tarrantino film, and the lyrics are resigned to the sadness and frustration of being strung along on a nowhere-headed relationship.
But, if Sea of Tears is resigned to sadness and regret, at least it rocks. Jewell's voice occupies that smooth, infectious place between country and jazz, and her melodies are intuitive and memorable. Highlights include "Nowhere in No Time" (purchase/download)—a good leaving-that-jerk road trip tune—and "One of These Days" (purchase/download), whose narrative paints a vivid picture of small town life in all its (you guessed it) sadness.