SUNDOWN OVER GHOST TOWN
The notion of home — how we find it, where it is, and whether we go there — is at the heart of Eilen Jewell’s new album, “Sundown Over Ghost Town.” After nearly a decade in Boston, the Americana singer-songwriter returned to her native Idaho in 2012 with her husband and bandmate, Jason Beek. They welcomed a new addition last year, a baby girl named Mavis. (Yes, named after that Mavis.)
As much as Jewell is missed around here, where she frequently performed with her band and as part of the Sacred Shakers, it was a smart decision — at least from the listener’s perspective. From honky-tonk swagger to hushed meditations, “Sundown” is a homespun reflection on community and family. Its charms are often quiet, but really set in after several listens.
Jewell is known for her graceful restraint, and it makes these snapshots of everyday life and places all that more remarkable. When she’s not kicking up some dust (“Rio Grande,” “Pages”), there’s poetry in her plainspoken delivery of story-songs such as “Half-Broke Horse” and “My Hometown.” On the latter, she sings, “If sweetness had a sound/ It would sound like my hometown/ The summer sprinklers turnin’ on/ The endless ice-cream song.”
“Sundown Over Ghost Town” is an elegant reminder that sometimes the most compelling stories are the ones that crop up in our own backyards. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “My Hometown”
Eilen Jewell will perform at the Sinclair in Cambridge on July 8.James Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.