ELANA JAMES, of the popular band Hot Club of Cowtown, released a solo album called Black Beauty. It features 13 songs, including a mix of her own tracks plus those of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and the Grateful Dead. The album ranges from easy-listening ballads, snap-worthy jazz to electric folk songs.
Though the album differs from the traditional Western swing for which she’s known, it is rooted in country with an emphasis on romance. The fiddler and singer-songwriter worked many years as a packer and wrangler in Colorado and Montana and melds her experiences into her music. In “High Upon the Mountain,” the lyrics reminisce about the remarkable scenery: “A breeze comes off the river, and rustles through the grass; sunlight dips below the ridge, shadows falling fast.” Acoustic songs “Eva’s Dance” and “Waltz of the Animals” allow James’s fiddling skills to take center stage.