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Tea-totaler

Eleni Mandell
Eleni Mandell

Legendary British songwriter Nick Lowe has said of folk-pop musician Eleni Mandell: “She stole my band and my sound, but I’d still have her ’round for tea.” That quote is proudly displayed on Mandell’s website. Well, they say good artists copy and great artists steal. 

Mandell’s 2014 release Let’s Fly a Kite (out now on Yep Roc Records) was recorded with Lowe’s backup band, and like a lot of Lowe’s recent work, it borrows heavily from pre-rock ‘n’ roll songwriting; Mandell’s voice is a mix of Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney and Aimee Mann. “I Like You” is a Cole Porter-style love song, and “Something To Think About” recalls sweet ’50s pop standards — the tune hinting at the immortal “Blue Moon.” Elsewhere, gentle Tex-Mex country-swing flavors “The Man Who’s Always Lost.” 

Let’s Fly a Kite is different than all my other records,” Mandell says via her website. Despite all the American music influences, she made the record in London. “It’s definitely the first time I’ve made a record and had so much tea to drink. We don’t usually have tea when we record music in the United States,” Mandell jokes, adding, “I really hope fans will really just enjoy the music. It’s so much fun to make. I hope they’ll have that feeling when they listen to it.”

Appearing in Eugene with Mandell is Dylan-esque “it” singer-songwriter Vikesh Kapoor, whose name, since last being featured in EW (“That new old-time feel, 5/30/13), is increasingly everywhere. 

Eleni Mandell plays with Vikesh Kapoor 9 pm Friday, Feb. 21, at Sam Bond’s; $8.