If that headline is what it took for you to hear this gorgeous new Karen Elson song, then so be it. After all, Elson has been making music for quite some time, first as part of a New York political cabaret troupe the Citizens Band, which she joined circa 2004 and received acclaim for from the get-go. Elson married White in 2005, and he went on to produce his then-wife’s 2010 debut album The Ghost Who Walks, which was also met with almost exclusively positive press. It’s easy to hear why, Elson is a phenomenal vocalist and her songs are the kind of intricate dark-folk that has a niche, substantial audience.
Since the couple’s much-publicized split a couple years later, however, Elson hasn’t put out another album — until now, of course. And without White at the helm, she enlisted Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, a band that White has publicly feuded with and accused of ripping off his sound, to help produce a couple tracks. Elson has commented on social media since that things have been completely smoothed out between all parties, and the fact that she demo’d much of new record was at Third Man Studios further supports that.
Though Jonathan Wilson produced most of the record, which is called Double Roses and will be out April 7 via H.O.T Records Ltd, Carney stepped in for today’s new track “Call Your Name” and an as-yet unreleased song called “A Million Stars.”
“Call Your Name” is the second single off the record, following up “Distant Shores” — her early collab with Laura Marling and Benmont Trench — and it’s a haunting, folk mourner that reminds of something from the early Corrs discography. Her voice is clean and clear, warm and responsive, and the songwriting is fantastic. Oh, the production sounds pretty great, too.
“Originally, when I wrote ‘Call Your Name,’ I wanted it be a duet,” Elson said of the song. “But I realized that the song is about the two sides of me; the dark and light battling each other. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and realize that no-one, in essence, can save you from yourself! It’s also a question of my identity, who am I when you strip away the smoke and mirrors.”
For what it’s worth, Elson’s release show for the record will be held in Nashville at White’s Third Man Records studio, which again suggests they’re on better terms than they have been in the past. Listen above and look for Double Roses in April.