Eli King plants his flag in country with ‘Come Get Your Wife’: review3 min read
With this weekend’s release of his third full-length album, “S Get Your Wife,” Ellie King does exactly what he’s always been called to do: go authentically full-bodied and earnestly country, with the deepest affection and sincerity for the genre. The result of Nashville’s lock-stock-ham-hock-and-smoking-barrel take is King’s most dynamic full-length album yet, full of wonder, whiskey, spit, laughter, sensuality, religion, soul and country-fried soul.
Make no mistake: King has forever made country a big part of his music-making menu. Starting with the blustery blues and pop-Americana of his raucous debut, 2012’s “The Elle King EP,” to its dazzling single “Good to Be a Man” (which he wrote on banjo), King’s vocals and melodies were as lush as ever. They have tangs of bittersweet R&B and rugged rock-lite. The Kings’ smash Adele-meets-Wanda Jackson hit in 2015, “Exes and Ohs,” only added to its edgy allure.
However, a true smash with duet partner Miranda Lambert on 2021’s anthemic “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” may have pushed King to a triumphant conclusion: go country or bust.
Although Los Angeles-born and Philadelphia-schooled, Eli King didn’t have to record “Ace Get Your Wife” in Nashville to swear by the superior sound of Hills and Plains. Country is as much a part of King’s DNA as pop and soul, and its metaphorical tear-in-her-bear tone. Co-producing his new album with Ross Copperman (of Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down” fame, among others) and co-writing with Nashville’s current cream-of-the-crop has given him some good company to keep that raw, sonic pedigree.
The vocalist breaks into a slow rendition of the new album’s first track, “Ohio,” as “Watch me sing on the back porch, the dog barking, my dip in the kitchen/That’s when it hits me that I’ve been ‘too long’ in the country. Announces his wanderings.
A jagged, rough pedal steel slide and a booming banjo clock introduce King’s full-throated, echo-influenced vocals on “Before You Met Me,” and it’s “the kind of girl that finally settles you down… every Sunday.” The first row is a kind of Christian.” That “Before You Met” precedes the rousing, organ-filled “Try Jesus” and its memorable heartfelt chorus (“Hey, Hallelujah, A-Freakin’-Man” joyfully ends the day’s sermon portion, and closes out God Box that even many au courant country artists still check for success.
The lazily hell-raising “Bonafide” and several tracks here were co-written by King with Bobby Hamrick, Ella Langley and Matt McKinney, and the sound suits the vocalist’s quiet voice and tactile swing – be it subtle, mid-tempo. Thumper “Lucky” or false-ass-lover, the smoke-filled blues of “Tulsa”.
“Crawlin’ Mood’s flying fiddles and fingerpicked guitars,” the Led Zep-like “Blacked Out” and the smoldering “Worth a Shot” (with Dierk Bentley) flow smoothly before ending on the album’s last two salty cuts, “Out Yonder” and ” Love go by.”
When “Out Yender” – written by Hamrick, Langley and McKinney without King – “Duin’ Line, Huffin’ Glue, Who’s Got a Wife and a Girlfriend Too?,” a mangy bad-ass blues rocker with lyrical hints of “Love Go By” is subtle and The yawing, southern, soulful ballad was co-written with Joe Janiak, a British singer/songwriter known for works for Britney Spears, Elle Goulding and Adam Lambert.
Before you worry that there is no country about Adam or Brittany and start panicking about the king’s loyalists, don’t. What’s most interesting about this two-track denouement is how it wraps King’s recent recording past as Janis Joplin’s soulful successor — a rocking belter with craggyly fine hat tips to jazz, R&B and traditional folk — in a logical progression of 21St The country of the century without words like tourists on both sides of the ledger.
“Wife” is an Eli King masterstroke of music making. It happens to be the country that makes it all wilder. come and take