Southern Belle

"Stolen Roses" by Karen Elson

“If it were a film it would be a Southern Gothic, pre-Civil War tragedy,” muses model and musician Karen Elson about her debut album, The Ghost Who Walks. Having performed for the last five years with the politically conscious cabaret troupe The Citizens Band, Elson imbues her solo songs with strong narrative threads, a reflection of moving to Nashville with her husband, The White Stripes maverick Jack White (also of The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather), who produced Elson’s album. “It really honed my songwriting skills being absorbed by all these brilliant storytellers in Nashville, as it’s such a part of Southern culture,” she says.  White’s production technique, she adds, coaxes out authenticity and personality: “His strength lies in being able to get the best and most honest performance out of you—it’s barebones recording without computers, but when things are too perfect you lose some of the charm.” Elson emphasizes her obsession with Depression-era America and the Dust Bowl, referencing Dorothea Lange’s photographs and The Wizard of Oz.  Even her stage outfits aim to capture the spirit of the character that she became while making her record: “I’m wearing a lot of vintage dresses that are Blanche DuBois meets a Carson McCullers heroine—I’ve learned so much about images from being a model that I want to incorporate it and make it a mythical thing.” For this video, Elson enlisted friend and fellow Citizens Band mate Sarah Sophie Flicker, as well as filmmaker Maximilla Lukacs to co-direct an intimate acoustic performance of “Stolen Roses,” shot in a candlelit hideaway in Calfornia's legendary music mecca, Laurel Canyon. In advance of the album release, the single "The Ghost Who Walks" is available now for pre-order via Karen Elson.

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