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Project 153 Concert with Eilen Jewell

Doors 4:00pm • Music 5:00pm

Don’t miss Eilen Jewell in the intimate setting that is Abilene Bar and Lounge


(Signature Sounds)

American Songwriter describes Eilen Jewell as, “one of America’s most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices.” The Boise, Idaho songwriter is one of a kind.

That singular voice springs forth from a woman of more than one mind, and she taps into many of them on Gypsy. By turns personal and political, pissed off and blissed out, Jewell’s first album of original material since 2015 expands brief moments of joy into lifetimes, and distills epic sentiments and persistent doubts into succinct songs.

Yet rather than pulling artist and listener this way and that, the tensions within and between these twelve tracks propel her eighth studio album forward as a remarkably cohesive full-length.

The disc kicks off with "Crawl," a rollicking country rocker that revels in indecision, pitting the terrifying urgency of now against nostalgic longing: ‘I want to crawl right out of my skin, Go back in time, cake walk in red fringe I want solitude, don’t want to be alone, Want to put down roots, want to be a rolling stone.’

"I've been writing bits of that one for close to eight years now," says Jewell. "I've felt that polarity in my life a lot, ever since I can remember, and I wanted to capture that discomfort and angst. Putting it into words and music felt cathartic. Now, whenever I feel that tug-of-war, I can sing my song about it."

"Witness" sits at another end of the spectrum, a celebratory sunset burnished with honesty and understated brass, written quickly in a Central Idaho cabin. "I was still a relatively new mother, and experiencing this frequent opening of my heart, realizing that it had been clenched like a fist for so long. Little ones have this way of disarming us, and so do little moments that startle you, like a beautiful sunset or a bird song …but that openness is always there. You don't have to seek it out, you just have to choose to open yourself up to it."

Agitated by the state of the world, Eilen gave herself permission to tip-toe into protest music on Gypsy, too. "79 Cents (The Meow Song)" skewers sexism and discrimination with pointed humor, while "Beat The Drum" lifts up a rallying cry to fellow travelers struggling to maintain hope in the face of adversity. Startled by backlash from both sides when she casually spoke some common sense about the Chief Executive in a recent interview, she decided to speak out rather than shut up. "I don't see politics as separate from the rest of life. They're intertwined. This is personal, especially in the past few years."

Further testing her limits, Jewell played electric guitar on Gypsy, the first time she's recorded on the instrument. "That posed its own set of challenges," she admits.

"Playing it on stage, where there's more room to have things sound not exactly the way you want them, is one thing, but in the studio I'd think 'Is this really the way I want to portray this song?'" Not only did certain sounds elude her, so did the words to express precisely what she was seeking. "I lacked the vocabulary, but it's great to feel humbled in that way. You realize that the world of music is so vast that even one aspect can represent a lifetime of learning, and that's what makes it so cool."

Longtime fans who love Eilen Jewell in classic country mode will delight in "These Blues" and "You Cared Enough To Lie." She describes the latter, the sole cover on Gypsy, as "one of many songs I wish I'd written." Even so, her foray into the music of Idaho legend Pinto Bennett felt as intensely personal as any original.

"Pinto was playing every Saturday at a local dive bar that I'd always been too afraid to go into, one of those real beauties with no windows, the kind of place that makes you think, 'If I go in there, the needle will scratch across the record and everyone will stare.'" Instead, prompted by a friend who was playing drums in Bennett's band, Jewell and her husband, Jason Beek, found themselves returning week after week to learn more from the hard-living Nashville veteran.

"The first time I heard Pinto play 'You Cared Enough to Lie,' I looked at the steel player, and he looked at me, and he tapped his head with a finger, then pointed at me and mouthed 'You have to cover that,'" she remembers. "Which is so funny, because I'd just thought the same thing." (The affinity proved to be mutual: Jason produced Bennett's latest album, The Last Saturday Night, with Eilen providing guest vocals.)

Long hailed for her ability to interpolate different genres into her own sound, Jewell manages to make the distinct songs of Gypsy play well together, without compromising their individuality. By the same token, she's rarely seemed more willing to let different facets of her personality and talent shine through.

"I always try to be honest when I make an album. 'Is this really what I want to say? Is that how I want to say it?'" With time and experience, trust in her own ideas and abilities continues to escalate. "Writing still doesn't feel like an easy process, but after thirteen years, it's a bit more second nature." Gradually, she's accepting that all her feelings are valid, even if they sometimes seem at odds.

"I often resent that feeling of being pulled in different directions, but without that pull, life is like a guitar string that's not taut," she concludes. "A loose string makes a terrible sound."

Tickets:: There will not be any general ticket sales for this show.
This is an exclusive show for those who have donated to Project 153. Here’s a link to see more details and to donate -

and here’s a bit more about Project 153..

”About a year ago, I visited the the Crisis Nursery on Genesee Park Boulevard.

Run by the The Center for Youth, the Crisis Nursery offers free, temporary child care for parents who have no other safe place to leave their babies or young children during a crisis. Open 24/7, the nursery has been a refuge for little kids whose parents are dealing with unexpected emergencies, mental health problems, domestic violence, homelessness and other issues. Every year, more that 1,000 kids are welcomed here.

I held a young baby in my arms, a baby whose mother truly was in crisis….and I was profoundly moved….and knew then that this was place worth telling people about…and fighting for.

The Crisis Nursery and Owen’s House, a second location in the Beechwood neighborhood, keeps these kids safe, healthy, happy and removed from chaos and trauma. They are clearly loved by the staff and volunteers, who also help parents find permanent solutions to their crises.

It is such a warm and compassionate place that I left feeling the desire to support is good work. I decided to do that through music, with the help of Abilene Bar and Lounge's loyal customers—definitely a warm and compassionate bunch. So, here’s how this ongoing fundraiser is going to work:

1) Join! Become a member of “Project 153.” There will be three annual membership levels…and minus the small PayPal processing fee, your entire, tax-deductible contribution will directly support the Crisis Nurseries.

2) Reap the benefits of Project 153 membership. Twice a year Abilene will be hosting intimate shows featuring national acts . All levels of membership will include free and exclusive access to these events. There’ll also be the opportunity to meet and greet the musicians, receive commemorative Abilene merchandise and more.

Simple, right?! But it will make a big difference for so, so many young people in our town.”

Thanks a ton,

Danny Deutsch

Here’s a link to see more details and to donate..