Mastered by Alan Yoshida!
Rickie Lee Jones' "Balm in Gilead" is an extraordinary collection of emotionally powerful, texturally rich and endearing songs, many of which have been 'incubating' with her for several decades. The highly regarded and 2-time Grammy®Award winning cult heroine is joined by guest artists Alison Krauss, Ben Harper, Victoria Williams, Bill Frisell, Jon Brion and Vic Chestnutt! The songs here flow easily through its roots and soul fabric; it reflects the lifetime work of a woman, whose very name is a genre.
"This record is unique because most of it was written over the last 20 years," she says. "All the other records, I've written in a year or two or three after finishing the previous one. This one has threads from many, many years. Some were just written recently, most were finished recently but started a long time ago. 'Wild girl,' for example, which ended up being about my daughter, was started before Flying Cowboys, and it was waiting all these years to finish. For me, the album feels close to a debut, because the only time you ever have to spend all these years writing a song is your first record, right?"
Jones intricately weaves a thread of disarming vulnerability through Balm in Gilead's exquisite story-songs. The album's charms include the R&B-flavored opener "Wild girl" which harkens back to the old Rickie Lee, with a mother's love - older and wiser, "The Gospel of Carlos, Norman and Smith (lololo)" which artfully widens the lens on society's racial injustice and its bottomless human ramifications; "Old Enough" (a duet with Ben Harper) is also classic Rickie Lee Jones, with its irresistible punchy horns that somehow miraculously transforms pain to joy and the stunning "The Moon Is Made of Gold," a star-dusted acoustic jazz gem, written by her father decades ago. The tune, with its gorgeously simple lyric and magical melody will be undoubtedly be covered and sung a hundred years from now. Other highlights include the emotionally raw and heartbreaking "Bonfires," the gorgeous ambient "His Jeweled Floor" on which she plays all the instruments except bass and accordion and the wild-dog howl of "Blue Ghazel."
2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the dawn of Jones' storied recording career, which exploded in 1979 with her self-titled debut album and its top 10 hit, "Chuck E.'s in Love." Jones had an immediate impact on pop culture, enjoying the massive buzz of an indelible SNL appearance and an instantaneous Rolling Stone cover, all while winning a Grammy for Best New Artist. Three decades' worth of acclaimed creative detours have ensued with both her singing and writing "voice" remaining, despite her pervasive and incalculable influence on two or three entire generations of singer/songwriters, among the most distinctive and instantly recognizable in music.
"Balm In Gilead #10 on the BBC's Best Albums of 2009!"
Jones best record in a decade - UNCUT
Balm in Gilead may be the strongest record of the second half of her career. - The New Yorker
Rickie Lee Jones still sounds utterly unique. Switching effortlessly between jazzy strums, punchy R&B, waltzing country and gauzy Daniel Lanois-like atmospherics on centerpiece On His Jeweled Floor, Balm in Gilead adds up to a very classy showcase - Q Magazine
The material radiates with well-worn intimacy - Mojo
An American original, Rickie Lee Jones has that rare ability to transfix the listener with her intensely personal songs while fearlessly blazing a trail through the worlds of folk, rock and pop. Her latest studio effort, Balm in Gilead is one of her most accessible recordings in years, yet it still showcases her innate sense of musical adventure... Genius. - Detroit Free Press
Thirty years since her astonishing Chuck Es in Love debut, Rickie Lee remains a singular talent who gets a chance to fully flourish here with songs of innocence and experience. She wrote most of them over the past 20 years sometimes good things take time to mature. - Daily Mirror (UK)
Songs that were written over the last 20 years!
"The Moon Is Made of Gold" a star-dusted acoustic jazz gem, written by her father decades ago.
Featuring Ben Harper on slide guitar and vocals in "Old Enough"