Sometimes, a song is too old to be an oldie.

Other times, it’s just old enough.

This peculiar rule of commercial radio “oldies” stations had a big impact on the life of singer-songwriter Eilen (pronounced “ee-len”) Jewell.

While growing up in rural Idaho in the 1980s, Jewell was captivated by the pop music of the late 1950s and early 1960s, which she heard on the “oldies” radio station out of Boise.

Today, you’re lucky to hear something as old as 1970 on an “oldies” station. Demographics are constantly shifting, and advertisers are more interested in people who were teenagers in 1976 than in folks who were teens in 1956.

Anyway, this strange law of oldies means that the 32-year-old Jewell was heavily influenced by the music of faded legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis, The Shirelles and The Animals.

“I sort of feel like I came out of the womb to that music and heard it my whole childhood,” said Jewell, a singer-songwriter-guitarist now based in Boston. “My mom and dad were lovers of music, but they didn’t push any particular kind of music. I just gravitated toward that oldies music.”

Jewell will bring her unique sound – and her love of old-time pop rock – to Rockland on Friday when she does a show at The Strand Theatre. The Sweetback Sisters, known for rollicking Western swing, are also on the bill.

In the past decade or so, Jewell has established herself as a formidable singer-songwriter in the a variety of folk-related genres, from country and blues to gospel, from rockabilly to honky tonk. She gets regular airplay – not on oldies stations – but on college, community and adult-alternative stations.

Her latest album, “Queen of the Minor Key,” came out in July on the Signature Sounds label. It includes some old-timey rockabilly sounds, and the songs have been called “gritty” by critics. But they were written in a fairly pristine place – a cabin in the mountains in Jewell’s home state of Idaho.

Growing up in rural Idaho, where her family had a tree farm, has had big influence on her work as a songwriter.

“I think it’s been a huge influence on my writing and on my sense of aesthetics in general,” she said.

“In Idaho and the rural West in general, there is a simple way of living. There is more time and space and energy to devote to the small things, the details. I look for that simplicity in music, and in art in general.”

Jewell also has an appreciation for country oldies. In 2010, she released “Butcher Holler,” an album of Loretta Lynn covers named after Lynn’s hometown of Butcher Holler, Ky.

Jewell left Idaho to attend college in New Mexico, and spent some time busking in Los Angeles. Some friends from college were moving to western Massachusetts and expecting a child. They asked Jewell to live with them and help with the baby.

“I had nothing better to do, so I went,” she said.

Drawn to Boston’s lively music scene, she moved there in 2003 and met Jason Beek, who first became the drummer in her band, then her husband and manager. And he’s still the band’s drummer.

Jewell and her band tour about seven or eight months a year. She likes the motion of touring, the exploring of new places. Her family stayed in one place most of her childhood, and she always had dreams of traveling.

But after a month or so on the road, she starts to get a little tired.

Constant motion seems to help her songwriting. Not one to sit down and try to write, Jewell says songs come to her in her head – often with music and lyrics together – and she has to react quickly to jot down the ideas and tunes.

“It arrives mostly complete, sometimes snippets of lyrics and a tune, and sometimes I don’t know right away exactly what the lyrics will be,” said Jewell. “Like yesterday – a song came to me, lyrics and tune, and it was gospel sounding.”

When told that, to a non-musical person, this occurrence of a nearly-formed song just appearing in one’s brain sounded “other worldly,” Jewell had to agree.

“We all have gifts that tend to baffle those of us who don’t have those gifts,” she said.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]