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Album of the Week: 'Get Behind the Wheel' by Eilen Jewell

Eilen Jewell standing with palm trees behind her. She is a white woman with blonde hair and a black cowboy hat. Above her it says "Eilen Jewell" and "Get Behind the Wheel".
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Eilen Jewell's "Get Behind the Wheel."

Get Behind the Wheel by Eilen Jewell is KAXE's Album of the Week for May 19 - May 25, 2023.

Written and recorded after a tumultuous few years, Eilen Jewell’s new album is a testament to her resilience.

Recently divorced from her husband, who also happened to be her drummer and manager, and with time on her hands due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jewell moved to a remote cabin in Idaho to recoup. There she began to write Get Behind the Wheel, using the title as motivation to restart her life.

On “Crooked River,” Jewell highlights the healing power of nature, singing, “Wash my hands, wash my sin, let me shiver in your ruthless winds. Take me down, take me in, oh Crooked River.” Crooked River is a real river in Idaho, near where Jewell was living.

That is followed by “Lethal Love,” a great example of why her music is sometimes called “surf-noir.” Jerry Miller, her longtime guitar player, brings reverb heavy licks that give the song an ominous vibe. Fittingly, Jewell sings about a love that is like “Russian roulette” and walking a tightrope “without a net."

Throughout the album, Miller’s electric alongside Fats Kaplin’s pedal steel provide a great soundtrack to Jewell’s lyrics, and effortlessly match the mood of her words. On “Winnemucca,” where she compares herself to a “lonely station in the desert,” the band captures the feeling of driving all night with only the radio for company.

Get Behind the Wheel shows music can be just as healing for the maker as it is for the listener. It is KAXE’s Album of the Week. 

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Malachy started his radio career at a college radio station, where he played weird music in the middle of the night to possibly no one. On a good night maybe his parents were listening. Nonetheless, he was hooked on public radio and is still doing it today. He joined Northern Community Radio in 2022, where he gets to share his passion for local music as Producer of Centerstage Minnesota, an all Minnesota music show airing Fridays at 2pm.