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Karen Elson's transformation from fashion’s favourite redheaded ingénue to beguiling chanteuse has been something of a slow burn. In 2003 she provided vocals for a version of Robert Plant's "Last Time I Saw Her" and in 2006 she recorded an English language version of "Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus" ("I Love You… Me Neither") with Cat Power for a Serge Gainsbourg tribute album, but her main musical outlet has been as a founding member of New York City cabaret The Citizens Band, a downtown collective of musicians, performers, artists and acrobats whose lively Weimar-esque performances have enjoyed successful theatrical runs of their politically thematic shows.
The 11 original compositions on "The Ghost Who Walks" were all written following Karen Elson’s 2005 relocation from New York City to Nashville. While making her home – and raising two children - in the city of country music, Karen took to writing songs for The Citizens Band and found she had plenty of other melodies in her head. Her and spouse Jack White quickly put a band together: Karen’s cabaret cohort Rachelle Garniez on accordion and vocals, The Dead Weather's Jack Lawrence on bass, My Morning Jacket's Carl Broemel on pedal steel and brother-in-law Jackson Smith on guitar. Jack White took the role of producer and provided drums. Karen added a cover of Garniez's "Lunasa" to the recordings and within a matter of weeks she had an album's worth of material. Two of her more theatrical tracks, "100 Years From Now" and "Mouths To Feed", inspired in part by author Tim Egan’s dust bowl saga "The Worst Hard Time", were originally penned for her cabaret troupe. The rest of the album richly evokes the lonesome feel of country ("Cruel Summer"), the tormented side of the blues ("The Truth Is In The Dirt") and the haunted stories of traditional folk balladry ("Stolen Roses").
Graphic artist Rob Jones took inspiration from Karen’s penchant for peach and black to create gorgeously smoldering album art.
Darryl says: A surprisingly excellent album from Jack White's missus, awash with sweet country tinged melodies.