The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard

Studio Album by released in 2007
The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard's tracklist:
Nobody Knows My Name
Falling Up
Lamp Of The Body
It Hurts
Where I Like It Best
Tried To Be A Man
Circle In The Sand
Donkey Ride
Seventh Day
Elvis Cadillac
Road To Emmaus
I Was There

The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard review

The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard is not a tribute to indie fashion

Though Rickie Lee Jones is widely known as a singer working in the direction of pop music, a history of her career can offer some examples when she was trying to bend from the boarders of this genre. Her album Ghostyhead released in 1997 was her journey in the fields of trip-hop, the 1995’s Naked Songs was an entirely acoustic album and Pop Pop issued in 1991 tuned out to be full of jazz standards. Such offshoots from her basics musical activities has presented her with a reputation of a completely unpredictable artist and it seems that in this year she decided to back this opinion with deeds one more time. Her new album The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard became the most unexpected stylistic and subject turn over she could offer, even in the context of her previous musical experiments. Metaphorically speaking The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard is her trip over Lo Fi/indie territory under the banner of Christianity. But don’t take it as if Rickie Lee Jones became a victim of fashionable tendency to record indie albums, its not that trivial.

Initially, The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard was not supposed to be an album

To understand what did Rickie Lee Jones make this time around we’ll have to delve a little into the events preceding this album’s issue. A few years ago a writer, photographer and an everyday theology lover Lee Cantelon has written a book The Words. The book itself is a modern interpretation of Jesus Christ’s teachings and it was generally addressed to the people who are not religiously concerned. In 2005 Cantelon leased a studio and recruited a number of musicians to record some tracks, which were supposed to serve as a background for the spoken narration of his book. Rickie Lee Jones was invited to take part in this project in the summer of 2006 but instead of simple word narrating she asked if she could sing them. Jones decided not to use the original text and sang all her parties relying on improvisation, her feelings and the way she understood the massage of the book. These tracks have laid a basis for the future album. Such songs as Nobody Knows My Name where Jones colors the three-chord vamp with her reach vocal passages and more melodically polished Gethsemane, which is dedicated to Christ’s inner inconstancy before soldiers would take him, are represented unaltered. And though the songs recorded during that session sound LoFi and even primitive, it can’t be referred to the disadvantages of the album as for the first place it carries an improvisational character.

Rickie Lee Jones is looking for inspiration in improvisation

Not long after these events Rickie Lee Jones decided to get back to the ideas of Cantelon’s book. She contacted producer Rob Schnapf, invited the same musicians and recorded a number of songs based on the same principles but represented in a better quality. From the material’s point of view the second part of the album proves to be much more accessible and interesting. For example Falling Up with its catchy chorus or It Hurts, which became the most rocking song of the album sound much brighter than the compositions of the first session. However there are not so many songs that really fit Jones’ vocals. Check out Seventh Day or Elvis Cadillac – these are polished and rather interesting songs made up in a pop rock manner, and though they may seem a little otherworldly during the first listen, they posses a whole bunch of catchy moments. It is worth paying a separate attention on Where I Like It Best, a song that refers to the first record session. It features a concentration of emotional sharpness of the entire album. The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard is above all an attempt to make something original in a non-commercial sense. The special emphasis was laid on the creative and improvisational force of music. Rickie Lee Jones was trying to bring her ideas forward by means of her feelings and she succeeded in it greatly. Her sincere performance makes a listener forget about drawbacks of sounding and accept her emotional massage. And though The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard will hardly gain a commercial success it will surely stand as Rickie Lee Jones’ most sensitive and particular record.

Rate review4.33
Total votes - 3

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