Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Ms Jones has slipped so far down the totem pole of public attention in the past decade that her last album -- the ambitious Sermon on Exposition Boulevard of 2007 in which she meditated on Jesus and other things -- went straight past most.
Jones works her own territory: one part jazz, a nod to pop, sometimes soulful or almost spoken word, and that distinctive voice which you either love or find irritating.
It doesn’t makes her an easy proposition, but she is always worth persisting with. This album typically rewards in small doses, but is a real grower.
She addresses the concerns of her age and generation -- she’s 54, a solo mother and the opener Wild Girl is to her 21 year old daughter -- and musically crosses a lot of genres: with Alison Krauss on violin she goes pure country balladry for Remember Me about a relationship in tatters; Ben Harper duets on the soulful Old Enough which looks at a similar theme; she covers a song her dad wrote in the mid 50s (The Moon is Made of Gold) which is acoustic loveliness; Vic Chestnutt and Victoria Williams also guest in the hymnal His Jewelled Floor.
Eucalyptus Trail is a dull dirge despite guitarist Bill Frisell‘s tonal colours (if you’re ho-hum about her you’ll hate this li’l girl voice), The Blue Ghazel is an eerie instrumental, and Bonfires is spare ballad about hurt and betrayal and moving on.
As always with Jones, a slightly mixed bag where the best far outweighs the rest.