Tuesday, May 19, 2009

She Was a 'Crayon Angel'

Four years ago, I was fortunate to receive Judee Sill's first two and only LPs, Judee Sill (1971) and Heart Food (1973), as gifts from my dear friend Brady. It was the first time I heard the lovely folk-tinged sounds of this obscure singer/songwriter. I later learned she was the first artist signed to David Geffen's Asylum Records, for which her self-titled effort and Heart Food were released.

To my enjoyment today, I learned that some of indie rock's finest have gathered to commemorate the American songstress with Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill, out September 22 via American Dust. Artists such as 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 contribute their own cover versions of Sill cult favorites.

In addition, there are two new Judee Sill-penned songs that come to life for the very first time. "Reach for the Sky" and "Like a Rainbow," covered by Beth Orton and (Smog)'s Bill Callahan respectively, originally had sheet music, but no known recordings exist. "Like a Rainbow" was also co-written with Sill's onetime boyfriend, Lal Baum, who is the great-grandson of Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum.

While she never achieved super stardom, Sill's music lives on. Sadly, Sill passed away after a drug overdose in North Hollywood, California in 1979. Rediscover or discover her brilliance with Crayon Angel.

Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill

1. Ron Sexsmith - "Crayon Angel"
2. Beth Orton - "Reach for the Sky"
3. Daniel Rossen - "Waterfall"
4. Frida Hyvönen - "Jesus Was a Cross Maker"
5. Shalants - "Lopin Along Thru the Cosmos"
6. Final Fantasy - "The Donor"
7. Nicolai Dunger - "Soldier of the Heart"
8. Trembling Blue Stars - "Lady-O"
9. 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"

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  • Oh heavens, we had the first album in the house when I was a small kid. Fantastic. 'The Kiss' is one of the holiest songs ever written. I could go on about her for hours. Jim O'Rourke put together a compilation of her unreleased material.

    By Anonymous Jason Weaver, at Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 3:40:00 PM EDT  

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