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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
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Patricia Barber
(Blue Note)
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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
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Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
Prairie Dog Ballet
(Oak Avenue Publishing)
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Andy Timmons Band
“Gone (9/11/01)”
(Favored Nations)
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Ralph Towner
Time Line
(ECM Records)
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Anoushka Shankar

Amos Lee
"Arms Of A Woman"
Amos Lee
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Julius Curcio
"American Pie"
Alligator Shoes
(Electric Roots)
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"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
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Rising Stars [Issue #19]
Eels: The Unpretentious Celebrit-E
By Peter Vouras
With Strings: Live at Town Hall (CD Vagrant)

With success comes celebrity, whether it be in sport, acting, or music. Choosing how to deal with that celebrity can result in excess, superstardom, or even death. Maintaining a healthy balance takes determination and a discipline to live on one’s own terms. Such is the existence of Mark Oliver Everett, aka E of Eels. From his 1992 debut, A Man Called E, which spawned the unlikely alternative hit, “Hello Cruel World,” to his latest creation, Live at Town Hall, a string-infused compendium of existing material, albeit arranged and played totally differently, Everett has chosen to shut out the Los Angeles glitz and glamour and find contentment simply smoking a cigar in his backyard and playing with his dog. “I guess it’s a combination of things,” says Everett. “It’s partly my stubbornness and my wanting to live on my terms. I’ve always been idiosyncratic in that way. I never wanted to be a big commercial success.”

With a revolving cast of musicians, Eels have released six studio albums with their most recent, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, garnering critical acclaim and an exhaustive twice-global tour featuring a string quartet, steel guitar, mandolin, musical saw, celeste, pump organ, and even a trash can. Physically drained, Everett needed to recoup but while playing with his dog Bobby Jr., he was inspired once again. “I had no intention of touring after Blinking Lights but as I was sitting there smoking a cigar, it dawned on me how nice it would be to recreate this moment on stage.”

“I suppose I want to be a friend to the listener and be the best musical artist I can be,” says Everett. “My music is always changing and evolving.”
Live At Town Hall features 22 tracks of reworked material covering his entire career. The preparations for the album were the toughest so far. “It was much harder than I had anticipated. We have never been in a situation where the band members were reading written music. I can’t even read music! This wasn’t a ‘pick up your guitar, plug in, and see what happens’ situation. There is very little margin for error with this type of setup. There’s no feedback, no cymbal wash to hide behind when something goes wrong. You’re very naked and everyone can hear every little thing very clearly.”

The album, accompanied by a DVD, gives wonderful insight into the musical genius of E. Beautiful melodies and haunting lyrics abound. Recorded live at Town Hall in New York City on June 30th of last year, the album features “Bus Stop Boxer” from the Souljacker album stripped down to almost nothing. It’s raw and brilliant. Ditto for “I Like Birds” from the Daisies From The Galaxy album and “Novocaine For The Soul” from the critically acclaimed album, Beautiful Freak. Everett also puts his touch on Bob Dylan’s “Girl From North Country,” Johnny Rivers’ “Poor Side Of Town,” and
The Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina.”

Somehow he has been able to keep himself away from the trappings of stardom. His life is simple and graceful. “ I just like sitting in my house and coming up with new ideas. I don’t get into the whole LA scene.” His legion of fans awaits whatever incarnation of Eels that Everett will come up with. Perhaps next time he’ll be feeding the birds and voila! You just never know.

With Strings: Live at Town Hall

The Unpretentious Celebrit-E Eels With Strings: Live at Town Hall

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