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The Ghost Who Walks

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Editors’ Notes

Song titles like “The Ghost Who Walks,” “The Truth Is In the Dirt,” and “The Birds They Circle” point to the dark themes that singer/songwriter Karen Elson explores on her 2010 debut. Elson, who is married to Jack White of the Whites Stripes (he served as producer and drummer here), has created an album with a rootsy vibe that, despite the lyrics, isn’t always gloomy. The music has a retro sound that mixes Americana, ‘60s rock, and pop, with keyboards and sliding guitar tones coloring the effective arrangements. Oom-pah rhythms and a piano that reeks of a dank saloon serve as accompaniment on “100 Years from Now,” where Elson slyly sings and talks about a love that won’t matter one day. Spooky guitar tones, accordion bursts, and drums that build and pull back mark “Garden,” a track that finds the model-turned-singer letting loose. “A Thief At My Door” impresses with its sense of restrained drama; it’s a lovely song, and Elson’s voice is imbued with a subtle emotional power. The album closes with “Mouths to Feed,” a dust-bowl tale graced by distinctive fiddle.

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Biography

Born: January 14, 1979 in Oldham, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Model and singer/songwriter Karen Elson was born in Oldham, England, to a working-class family. Though her height, pale skin, and red hair made her a prime target for teasing while she was in school, these attributes also made her an ideal model. After being spotted by a talent scout while shopping at age 16, Elson embarked on a modeling career. Stints in London and Paris were frustrating, but she found success in Tokyo, Milan, and New York by the time she was 18. Elson appeared on the covers of...
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