Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Judee Sill tribute

Judee Sill is the subject of a tribute album released next month. She might be a little too obscure – undeservedly so, for sure – for this tribute to be a commercial success, but at the very least it will introduce a new audience to her fine albums of self-styled “country-cult-baroque”.

The video above shows Sill performing The Lamb Ran Away With The Crown in 1973 at the USC campus in Los Angeles. Tender and uncompromising as this clip is, on record Sill’s music is fuller and richer and just as mournful. Press release follows:
American Dust is proud to announce the fall 2009 release of CRAYON ANGEL: A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF JUDEE SILL, featuring new recordings by artists including Beth Orton, Bill Callahan, Ron Sexsmith, Final Fantasy, Nicolai Dunger, Marisa Nadler & Black Hole Infinity, Colossal Yes (with members of Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire), Meg Baird, Frida Hyvönen, and Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles. (See full track list below.)

Judee Sill was the first artist signed to David Geffen's Asylum Records and released two cherished cult LPs, 1971's Judee Sill and 1973's Heart Food, before vanishing from the music scene and eventually dying of a drug overdose in North Hollywood, California in 1979. Though forgotten for years, her music has enjoyed a period of rediscovery since her two studio albums were reissued on CD in 2005.

In addition to cover versions of songs from Judee's modest recorded output, Crayon Angel also features TWO NEW JUDEE SILL-PENNED SONGS, for which sheet music, but no known original recordings, survive. BETH ORTON brings to life the complex and lovely "Reach for the Sky," while BILL CALLAHAN records the epic slow-burn number "Like a Rainbow," a co-write with Judee's onetime boyfriend Lal Baum (great-grandson of Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum - how about that?).

CRAYON ANGEL: A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF JUDEE SILL is released September 22 on American Dust.

01 Ron Sexsmith: "Crayon Angel"
02 Beth Orton: "Reach for the Sky"
03 Daniel Rossen: "Waterfall"
04 Frida Hyvönen: "Jesus Was a Cross Maker"
05 Shalants: "Lopin Along Thru the Cosmos"
06 Final Fantasy: "The Donor"
07 Nicolai Dunger: "Soldier of the Heart"
08 Trembling Blue Stars: "Lady-O"
09 Colossal Yes: "The Phoenix"
10 Marissa Nadler & Black Hole Infinity: "The Kiss"
11 Princeton: "Down Where the Valleys Are Low"
12 The Bye Bye Blackbirds: "There's a Rugged Road"
13 Meg Baird: "When the Bridegroom Comes"
14 Bill Callahan: "For a Rainbow"
15 P.G. Six: "Til Dreams Come True"


alex said...

I listened to the Friday Hyvonen track the other night and though it was very beautiful. I've seen the vinyl reissues of her records of late, so I'm intrigued to listen - I'd not hear of her until recently, so I guess this tribute has piqued my interest further.

Apparently someone I know is working on a screenplay for a film about Judee Sill's life, too.

Fire Escape said...

You can't go wrong with either of her albums, although I think her debut, eponymous one is the better.

Her life story is certainly richly dramatic - drugs, wealth, penury, crippling insecurity, Californian music stars, possibly even prostitution - so a biopic could be great. I wonder who would play the leading role?

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of Judee Sill until I read this blog and Jenny Lewis sounds a whole hell of a lot like her.

Steve said...

Thanks for tip off on this tribute record.... Now I just need to track it down somewhere! Cheers!