Pop & Rock

Jones And Friends

11 NOV 09 DAVID VIENNA

For Rickie Lee Jones' new Fantasy release, Balm In Gilead, she summoned a wealth of life experience and brought together some of music's seminal talents. Together, they deliver a stunningly thoughtful collection of songs that span Jones' 30 years as a recording artist.

On "Old Enough," she pairs with acoustic powerhouse Ben Harper. The two slowly meander through a message delivering the hard truth that with wisdom should come with age, but often doesn't when it comes to relationships.

For the longing "Remember Me," Jones is accompanied by Vic Chesnutt on vocals and Alison Krauss on violin. The twangy ballad practically weeps, effortlessly blending love and sorrow with lines like, "In a border town near Mexico/I took your ring long ago/Now the storm clouds have filled your sweet eyes/And there's a storm that won't abide/It's torn everything inside/Of the sweet heart that once was my home." Chesnutt joins her again, along with Victoria Williams, for "His Jeweled Floor," which echoes through an ethereal haze, the three voices blending like a choir in a remote southern church.

Other staggeringly talented guests sit in on instruments and vocals as well -- Jon Brion, Bill Frisell and Chris Joyner, to name a few. My favorite track is "Bonfires." In it, Jones (with Brion) presents a calm, quiet proclamation that she will survive the broken heart inflicted by a past lover. Though conveyed like an intimate love song, the tale spun is one of revenge. She sings, "All I can do is wish you well/And light the Bonfires of hell."



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