Elle King: Shake the Spirit
Elle King and her band, The Brethren, performed at The Truman on May 14, 2019 in Kansas City in support of her current tour, Shake the Spirit. If you have picked up on some of my previous articles for The Oklahoma Reviews, you would understand that I am a big believer in “energy.” Positive attention toward female musicians in the business has increased over the past couple of years, and that energy and support by mostly female concert goers was in full effect for this show!
With creative style mixes of country, soul, rock and blues, Elle King is as diverse an artist as they come in the industry. Her song “Ex’s & Oh’s” earned her two Grammy nominations and it was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Her musical journey began at the age of nine, when she was growing up in Ohio. One day, her stepfather gave her a record by The Donnas. That album would fuel her desire and pursuit for a career in music. At the age of thirteen, King began playing guitar and listening to a variety of genres from rock and roll, soul, country, and bluegrass. Subsequently, the influence of Hank Williams and Earl Scruggs music provided her with the passion and desire to learn how to pick on the banjo. In case you didn’t know, her talents also extend to movie appearances as well as time working for a tattoo company.
As a woman, I not only see but have come to experience the value and power of having the support of other females. Elle King represented that vibe within the theatre when she appeared onstage with a big smile on her face, to a very enthusiastic and cheering crowd. King played a diverse set including some of her older tunes, a duet with her lead guitarist, a cover, and songs with her picking the banjo and strumming her flying V guitar. One thing certain about Elle King; is the fact that she’s honest and true in her musically creative style. In ending her set, she talked about self-love, honesty, Mental Health Month, and how all those elements fuse into music and rock and roll. My take away from this evening was, “That’s the most rock and roll thing you can do…, love yourself.”
Elle King has lived in several cities in the United States as well as outside of the U.S. Her talent has taken her to play at the South By Southwest Music Festival and she has toured with many well-known musicians such as Train and Ed Sheeran. Her music has been featured on VH1, the Ghostbusters soundtrack, in Esquire Magazine, and she has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. She also won a CMA award for her duet, “Different for Girls” in 2016. Her most recent album, Shake the Spirit, was released on October 19, 2018 via RCA Records. Variety called the album, “A first rate second album that deals frankly with a rough year or two the singer had since “Ex’s and Oh’s” took her big time. It’s infused with divorce, self-doubt, medicinal drinking, PTSD and well, more divorce.” Elle’s 2019 touring schedule is packed with festivals, touring across the US and Canada as well as touring with Heart and Miranda Lambert. If you’re struggling with loving yourself, Elle King is an artist that can provide you with a support system through her music and following. Get out to a show when you can. Music heals.