Rickie Lee Jones

The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard (New West)

SXSW Reviews

Rickie Lee Jones

The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard (New West)

On her New West debut, Rickie Lee Jones hasn't only recorded a collection of songs unlike anything she's done before, it's quite possible that The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard is unlike anything anyone has recorded, ever. Jones and her collaborators, wordsmith Lee Cantelon and guitarist Peter Atanasoff, put Jesus Christ's words into a modern-day context and set them to music. Inspiration came from The Words, Cantelon's portrayal of Christ's teachings in a way anyone can understand. While it's RLJ's most rock-oriented recording – the opener "Nobody Knows My Name" is pure VU drone – it's also defiantly spiritual without being religious. With every repeat spin, Sermon reveals new truths, divine grooves, and exquisite inspiration. Some will be comforted to know it's hardly "contemporary Christian," that is, unless the person she's singing about in "Elvis Cadillac" is truly the king. (Friday, March 16, Parish, 12:30am)

***.5

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