Jessi Colter - The Psalm
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The Psalm (Sony Legacy, 2017)

Jessi Colter

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Even if you enjoy religious music, Jessi Colter's "The Psalms" may be an acquired taste. As its title simply suggests, these 'songs' are basically akin to Old Testament Psalms, put to music. And that's usually a good thing, as King David was one of the Bible's best original songwriters (and also a mean harpist or so we're told).

What might make this album a bit of a stretch for many listeners, though, is the style of music to which Colter puts these lyrics. It's easily a country mile from the outlaw country of her late husband, Waylon Jennings. (And to think of it, that might have been a real hoot, had she put David's words to foot-stomping country sounds). Instead, Colter places these many times familiar words to meandering - for lack of a better a better term - untethered melodies.

Colter's severe artistic choices make this music difficult to relate to, tap one's foot simultaneously or sing along. In its place, one is left to kind of patiently follow along as Jessi sort of preaches it. One can laud Colter's bravery in creating a sincerely artistic work. However, she has also opened herself up to criticism for being self-indulgent. This music may be comforting for Colter to sing during quiet times with her creator, but to paraphrase a line from the movie "Purple Rain," Jessi, nobody digs your music, but you.

CDs by Jessi Colter

The Psalm, 2017 Out of the Ashes, 2006

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