Rickie Lee Jones: The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard

The Songs:

  1. Nobody Knows My Name lyrics
  2. Gethsemane lyrics
  3. Falling Up lyrics
  4. Lamp Of The Body lyrics
  5. It Hurts lyrics
  6. Where I Like It Best lyrics
  7. Tried To Be A Man lyrics
  8. Circle In The Sand lyrics
  9. Donkey Ride lyrics
  10. Seventh Day lyrics
  11. Elvis Cadillac lyrics
  12. Road To Emmaus (Instrumental)
  13. I Was There lyrics
  14. Cloud Of Unknowing (Live Bonus Track)

Personnel:

  • Rickie Lee Jones – vocals, guitar, dulcimer, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, xylophone, bass guitar, percussion
  • Jay Bellerose – drums
  • Rob Schnapf – acoustic guitar
  • Peter Atanasoff – guitar, oud, background vocals
  • Bernie Larsen – guitar, drums
  • Joey Maramba – bass guitar
  • Lee Cantelon – background vocals

The idea for this unique album started with Lee Cantelon. He is a writer, film maker, and artist. He had published a book called The Words, which compiled the teaching of Jesus from the four Gospels and put them into a thematic listing in contemporary English. Cantelon (who sang background vocals on the album and designed its cover artwork), had the idea to produce a spoken word album version of the book, using street music in the background. Recording sessions began at an artist loft along Exposition Boulevard in Culver City, California. Rickie Lee Jones was asked to contribute to the spoken word portion, but after listening to a brief minute of the music, she spontaneously sang and improvised her reaction to the words in a stream of consciousness style. That recording became the first track “Nobody Knows My Name”. As she reflected on the album:

“If you just have faith and try to believe and don’t control it, it will unfold and reveal itself to you. In life, that’s true–but it’s especially true in art… I love what I was able to do with it, putting myself in the skin of Christ and all the characters walking with him on the sand… It seems that the real story of Jesus is lived over and over again in each generation but no one ever recognizes the Christ that walks among us… People today can’t even hear the name Jesus without tensing up because they don’t want to be associated with the TV evangelists and that lot. I just wanted to level the playing field a bit.”

Other songs followed, including “Falling Up,” “Gethsemane,” Elvis Cadillac,” (a trippy view of driving around heaven with Elvis), and “Circle In The Sand,” (originally written for an indie film). The project was finally completed and released in 2007. It is a challenging album, both lyrically and musically, but repeated listenings bear a great reward. The depth and range of vision that became The Sermon on Exposition Boulevard contribute to a strong artistic statement and examination of what it means to follow Jesus in a post-modern world. (Buy it here.)

Selected Viewing:

The Sermon On Exposition Boulevard (Deluxe Edition)contains a 40 minute DVD with behind the scenes clips of the making of the album.

Selected Reading:

Lee Cantelon. The Words (Jesus Of Nazareth).

Advertisements