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Karen Elson on World Cafe | Monday, December 6, 2010

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Originally from Oldham, England, Karen Elson left home at 16 to pursue a modeling career and later taught herself to play guitar. After 10 years of "hiding behind smoke and mirrors" as a model, she takes ownership of her creative voice as a singer and songwriter with The Ghost Who Walks. Her songs are dark: her cool, clear voice floats over a murky bed of organ and pedal steel guitar.

Elson's songs really bloom on her debut, which were produced by her multi-tasking rock-star husband, Jack White. Her sound and look are highly stylized, and her gothic lyrics and effortless vocals are delivered with a captivating elegance.

Tracey Tanenbaum guest hosts this World Cafe session in which Elson describes the creative differences between her modeling and musicianship, as well as her gradual transition from listening to making music. Click the link above to hear the performance.

This World Cafe performance originally aired on August 4, 2010.

Check out the playlist below.

Beach House Zebra  Teen Dream
The Black Keys  Howlin' For You  Brothers
The White Stripes  Seven Nation Army  Elephant
Karen Elson  The Ghost Who Walks  Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Karen Elson  The Birds They Circle  Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Karen Elson  The Last Laugh  Recorded Live for the World Cafe
Jimi Hendrix  Wait Until Tomorrow  Axis-Bold As Love
The Heavy  How You Like Me Now?  The House That Dirt Built
Belle & Sebastian  Write About Love  Write About Love
Charlotte Gainsbourg  Heaven Can Wait  IRM
Elvis Costello  You Bowed Down  All This Useless Beauty
Twin Shadow  When We're Dancing  Forget
Twin Shadow  Slow  Forget
Them  It's All Over Now Baby Blue  Girl, Interrupted Soundtrack
Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy  Angel Dance  Band Of Joy
Amos Lee  Windows Are Rolled Down  Mission Bell
Ray Lamontagne  Beg Steal Or Borrow  God Willin' And The Creek Don't Rise
Kathleen Edwards  I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory  Asking For Flowers
Warpaint  Undertow  The Fool
Phosphorescent  Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)  Here's To Taking *It Easy
The Flamin' Groovies  Shake Some Action  Groovies' Greatest Grooves
Cake  Sick of You  Showroom of Compassion