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News:
White's Wife Makes Solo Debut At SXSW
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

AUSTIN, Texas -- Jack White's wife Karen Elson came into a musical spotlight of her own on Saturday (March 20) at the South By Southwest Music + Media Conference, with two performances to preview her forthcoming debut solo album, "The Ghost Who Walks.

The British fashion model, who's sung on recordings by Robert Plant and Cat Power and is part of the New York political cabaret The Citizens Band, played a private party at Austin's French Legation Museum in the afternoon, then headed to Frank's hot dog restaurant for an early evening set for a roomful of fans who had picked up free tickets offered at one of White's Third Man Records temporary "pop-up" stores set up there.

The red-haired singer-songwriter and guitarist was in a warm and self-deprecating mood, displaying a rich and powerful voice. Backed by three musicians, including Patti Smith's son Jackson on guitar, Elson started with the accordion driven "Stolen Roses" and presented a set steeped in the madrigal British folk tradition, with gentle and intricate arrangements and vivid, occasionally narrative lyrics. Other songs at the recital included "Lunesa," "100 Years From Now," "The Birds They Circle," "Garden" and "The Ghost Who Walks' " title track, a rootsy murder ballad whose title she said was inspired by a nickname when she was a child, because of her pale complexion and slender build.

"The Ghost Who Walks," which was produced by White, is due out this summer. Elson will perform her first full-scale solo concert on Monday (March 22) at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, while a more extensive tour is expected to follow the album's release.

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