CD Reviews for 08/09/07 – Eilen Jewell, Sarah Borges, Roky Erickson, Old Town School of Folk Music

Compact Capsules for 08/09/07
by Dan Ferguson

Eilen Jewell
Letters from Sinners & Strangers
Signature Sounds Records SIG-2006

Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles
Diamonds In the Dark
Sugar Hill Records SUG-CD-4028

If you asked me to predict the next big things coming out of the Boston music scene, the nods would go to Eilen Jewell and Sarah Borges. Each has just released their sophomore recording and each is plenty worthy of ears. On Letters from Sinners & Strangers, the languid-voiced Jewell and her spot-on band up the tempo from her first album forging retro rockabilly and country swing with the bluesy folk noir of that debut. They are zones at which Jewell and company prove equally adept, particularly thanks to the hot guitar of local hero Jerry Miller. For the spirited guitar slinger Borges, the covers-heavy Diamonds In the Dark is a stylistic smorgasbord that spans incendiary roots rock to 100-proof country shuffle to jangle pop to even a few soulful maneuvers. Simply put, you can’t go wrong with either. (Visit and

You’re Gonna Miss Me: A Film About Roky Erickson
Palm Pictures

Greatest song of the psychedelic era? “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by Texas legends 13th Floor Elevators gets this vote. The key (aside from the electric jug)? Why the absolutely amazing voice of Roky Erickson. Erickson’s story is a wild one that spans the highs, literally, of the Elevators days to an infamous drug bust that landed him in a mental institution (where treatment with Thorazine and shock therapy altered his mind for life) to his 1970s career rebound after release to the mental fog and disheveled existence of the late 1990s while under the care of his mother to the rescue and recovery by his youngest brother Sumner to the point where Roky is now alert and again performing. Newly available on DVD and chock full of extras, the documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me captures all this and then some and is a fascinating look at one of the true unsung heroes of rock and roll. Also available is the accompanying soundtrack which carries the same title. (Visit

Various Artists
Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook: Volumes 2 & 3
Old Town School/Bloodshot Records OTS003

The latest two installments documenting the doings at Chicago’s venerable Old Town School of Folk Music is a big gulp of folk classics as performed by a mix of local Chi-Town types (including OTSFM instructors) and those traveling through the Windy City. Celebrating its 50th anniversary and still going strong, some may ring familiar – James Hand, Kelly Hogan, Amy Allison, Lost Bayou Ramblers – while most likely will not. Spreading 42 selections across two CDs, if you like it traditional this vibrant collection is essential goods. (Visit

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)<...