Rickie Lee Jones | Balm in Gilead

Fantasy (2009)
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  December 2, 2009
4.0 4.0 Stars

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It’s astonishing to think that Rickie Lee Jones would turn out an album this organic and free of cynicism 30 years after her debut with the star-making, retro-hipster hit “Chuck E.’s in Love.” Particularly since her songwriting has always been so acutely self-aware.

Nonetheless, this beautiful disc needs only her sweet muted-trumpet voice and optimistic viewpoint to sail gracefully through its 10 songs, which range from the ’40s-style guitar chamber jazz of “The Moon Is Made of Gold” to the moaning, feedback-dappled hymn to transcendence that’s “His Jeweled Floor.” So it’s a bonus that Vic Chesnutt and Victoria Williams join her to form a chorus on the latter, and that Ben Harper adds his honeyed pipes to “Old Enough,” a song about an ebbing relationship, with a sunny doo-wop arrangement.

Alison Krauss also appears, crystallizing the country weeper “Remember Me” with her warm, expressive violin. Brimming with hope, Jones’s 14th album is a balm indeed.

RICKIE LEE JONES | Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | December 6 at 7 pm | $33-$50 | ticketmaster.com or 800.745.3000

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Berklee Performance Center,  More more >
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