Last Wednesday, I went to see Karen Elson for her CD release concert that was free at the BEST record store EVER, Grimey's of Nashville. Just when I had written off buying any more CDs to "simplify" my life, I bought not only her CD, but also her peach scented Vinyl.
For informational purposes, Karen Elson is a supermodel and the wife of Jack White from The White Stripes.
Other cool things about Karen Elson: she got married on a canoe in Brazil after only a month of knowing Jack White. She also has a twin sister who is a model as well. After moving to Nashville, she saved a vintage store Venus and Mars from closing and now co-owns the beautiful vintage store.
She lives in Nashville with her husband and two kiddos. At the concert, she was so humble, shy and kind. She blushed when she messed-up a chord. I was very impressed with how low-key she was. I was also surprised how iddy-biddy she was. In magazines, she seems larger-than-life, but in person, she's super thin and dainty. She was wearing the same outfit as she had on in the album, with her band mates matching. She had faint traces of her British accent, but after living in the USA for a number of years, her accent has definitely been "Americanized."
Karen wrote all of the songs on her album, and her husband produced it. I would classify her album as "country noir" which is the genre along side my other favorites like Neko Case. However, unlike Neko Case's voice, Karen has a classic, beautiful voice without traces of a country sound. With many minor chords, her songs have a strong element of sadness and regret to them; and, like all good 'ole country songs, the lyrics are about heartbreak and cheatin'. There is also a strong vintage sound (surprise, surprise!) as she loves vintage and co-owns a vintage store in Nashville. After the show, she autographed her albums.
My favorite lyrics are from "Stolen Roses" with lyrics like 'There was once a time when I was a girl, when darkness hung in my sky/ I was old before how I learned to be young, stone cold before I learned how to cry."
My other favorite song is "Cruel Summer."
"My darlin' was bewitched by another/ her black magic tricks stole his heart/ I saw her scheming as she twirled her hair,so long and black like the storms/ she caught my darlin's eye and quickly as the lighting I muttered a lonesome goodbye.... It's been a cruel summer/The kind that makes grown men turn pale/ my heart had been crushed by another/I could not compete with black hair."
Yet, the whole album is beautiful and worth buying. Just don't buy it if your lookin' for a cheerful, summer album. It's more if your lookin' for a humid-as-hell, Flannery O'Connor- Tennesse Williams-esque, Southern, summer album.