Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

New Music – Karen Elson

Karen Elson (born 14 January 1979 in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England) is a British model and singer/songwriter.

As a child, Elson attended North Chadderton School in Chadderton with her twin sister, film maker Kate Elson. She began working as a model as a teenager.

Elson is a founding member and performer with the New York City based political cabaret troupe The Citizens Band, appearing with them at various theatres as well as the downtown art gallery Deitch Projects. Critical response to Elson’s performances have been unequivocally positive, with the press frequently commenting on her striking vocal skills.

As one of the leaders of The Citizens Band she has performed a variety of songs including well received covers of The Velvet Underground, Kurt Weill, Elvis Presley, Mimi and Richard Fariña, Pete Seeger, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Marlene Dietrich.

She has also written and co-written songs for the troupe’s performances. Her cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says” is available on The Citizen Band’s MySpace page.

Elson’s musical career has been building slowly over the past several years. In 2003 she contributed backing vocals to a remix of Robert Plant’s “Last Time I Saw Her” off of Plant’s album Dreamland.

In 2005 a personal recording of Elson singing was made available on a CD accompanying the August 2005 issue of Uncut magazine (the song was titled “Coming Down”). The song was chosen by REM singer Michael Stipe

In 2006 she dueted with Cat Power on a provocative cover version of “I Love You (Me Either)” for Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, a tribute album to French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.

In February 2010, it was announced that Elson would be releasing her debut solo album The Ghost Who Walks, produced by her husband Jack White from The White Stripes.

Her first music video for “The Ghost Who Walks (Acoustic)” was made available on her website and the Third Man Records’ Modlife website.

“Karen Elson’s debut certainly doesn’t fight shy of inviting cynicism. She is a supermodel turned musician. Her band includes husband Jack White (producing and on drums), members of My Morning Jacket and the Dead Weather, and even Jackson – son of Patti and Fred “Sonic” – Smith on guitar.

The sleeve features them posing painstakingly in retro outfits with vintage musical equipment.

On songs such as the Nancy Sinatraesque title track, the music is similarly overstylised. Oldham-born Elson sounds more at ease with country blues and murder ballads, bringing a convincing, Loretta Lynn-type lonesome quality to the lovely Lunasa and The Last Laugh.

But Stolen Roses owes much to Nick Cave’s Where the Wild Roses Grow, Garden struggles with classic rock and there’s far too imagery of circling birds and plunging knives. She sounds in awe of American gothic, but otherwise we learn little of how it feels to be a girl from Oldham catapulted into what must be a very surreal life.”

“Cruel Summer” – Karen Elson

To buy the music of Karen Elson click HERE

June 10, 2010 Posted by | New Music, New News, Video | | 1 Comment


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