Black Music Matters Festival

Mandell lights up

Thursday, April 30, 2015 – Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Eleni Mandell will release her 10th studio album, "Dark Lights Up," on July 24 on Yep Roc Records.

Following a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame while on tour with her two young children, Mandell was inspired by and reflected on her classic country influence. After listening to Roger Miller, who her kids fell in love with, she "was really struck by how simple his production was, and how central his voice and how open the sound was on the record. It was really organic. There aren't a lot of layers, and the melody and his voice and the words were more beautiful for it. It made me want to de-clutter and strip away and make something simple that still sounded full and beautiful."

With that sound in mind and at the production helm of her 10th album, Mandell entered longtime collaborator and co-producer Sheldon Gomberg's Silver Lake studio, assembling all of the musicians together in a single room with only acoustic instruments. Cut live in four days, the album features Mandell on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jake Blanton (acoustic guitar), Ryan Feves (upright bass), Nate Walcott (piano, trumpet, flugelhorn) and Mike Green (drums, tambourine).

Mandel's debut Wishbone was released in 1999, followed by Thrill (2000/Zedtone), Snakebite (2001/Zedtone), Country for True Lovers (2003/Zedtone), Afternoon (2004/Zedtone), Miracle of Five (2007/Zedtone), Artificial Fire (2009/Zedtone), I Can See The Future (2012/Yep Roc), and Let's Fly A Kite (2014/Yep Roc). She's also a member of the indie folk supergroup The Living Sisters with Inara George and Becky Stark, who have released two albums.

Songs are:
1. I'm Old Fashioned
2. What Love Can Do
3. Someone To Love Like You
4. Cold Snap
5. China Garden Buffet
6. Town Called Heartache
7. Old Lady
8. Magic Pair Of Shoes
9. If You Wanna Get Kissed
10. Baby, Don't Call
11. Butter Blonde and Chocolate Brown
12. Do It Again

CD reviews for Eleni Mandell

Let's Fly a Kite CD review - Let's Fly a Kite
When you grace the stage and tour with the likes of a lyrical craftsman such as Nick Lowe, one might be lucky enough to listen and learn. Singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell had that good fortune a few years ago, and the result seems to have had some of Lowe's simple but stylish traits rub off on Mandell judging by the opening track on "Put My Baby To Bed." Here Mandell catches your ear with the old-school arrangement complete with some nifty clarinet accents. Of course, having »»»
Miracle of Five CD review - Miracle of Five
Eleni Mandell has the vocal and emotional range to move effortlessly amongst genres from traditional country to contemporary jazz, and her latest effort contains influences from across that range, but they're subtly blended into her hallmark noirish style. It's easy to imagine her in a black and white film - a sultry singer on the stage of a smoky night club. Every vocal adds to the air of exoticism and mystery. The intimate songs cover classic torch territory, but there's a »»»
Country for True Lovers
With hints of Beth Orton, a bit of Aimee Mann and maybe Gillian Welch, Eleni Mandell serves up a generally laid back, but consistent fourth album. Mandell tends to take a go slow, chanteuse approach la Orton - this is no rushed affair - but with a spare country sound, often underpinned by acoustic guitar. There's a good amount of pedal steel and twang throughout the 14 songs. Just when monotony threatens, Mandell smartly changes the pace. Her cover of Merle Haggard's "I've Got a Tender Heart" »»»