From the moment she first appeared in front of us on Saturday Night Live in 1979, Rickie Lee Jones has challenged her listeners and the establishment with an absorbing musical vision that defies border and classification. She rocked the culture of singer-song writerdom with her refusal to conform to the stayed and careful eloquence of the folk rock generation that came before her. Neither punk nor pop, she tottered on a thread of her own devise, jazzthe old musical kind, and R&B - the Motown thread that permeates her work. Her sense of humor, musical dexterity and song craft is all evident on her exquisite new album Balm in Gilead.
Jones, who’s joined on the record by Ben Harper, Jon Brion, Vic Chesnutt, Bill Frisell, Victoria Williams and Alison Krauss among other highly talented friends, has again captured her generation’s common experience. “This record was made for people my age.” says Jones, a single mother living in California. “Neither young, nor oldwe fall in between. We love all sorts of music, we’ve experienced life. I’m getting along and I pay my rent. I think my life is like everybody else’s, and I was thinking about the audience, not just myself, as I wrote it. We’re older now. And it’s not all about me, or all about us. It’s about our kids, and our parents who are dying, and the things that are relevant to us at this age. I really wanted to talk to us. To my generation, music is the balm that keeps us going.”