The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Reviews

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, March 16, 2007, Music

Elana James


Few people get to rebound from their band imploding by touring with Bob Dylan. That's exactly what happened to Austin's Elana James. When fiddler James and Whit Smith of the Hot Club of Cowtown decided to go in different directions, her joining the music legend's band eased some of the pain. It also freed her to try new things. While the swing is still in effect on her solo debut, it shows other sides that might not have worked in a previous setting. For example, the beautifully haunting "All the World and I" possesses an old-time feel that has more in common with the Carter Family than Bob Wills. With primo local guests like swing guitar authority Dave Biller and fiddle master Johnny Gimble, James tackles an imposing range of covers from Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, and a nod to Dylan, "One More Night," that, with a startlingly refined batch of originals, makes this an impressive solo career start. (Friday, March 16, Momo's, 9pm)


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