The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2006, Volume 13, #7
Written by Tracy M. Rogers
Kris Kristofferson has served as an inspiration to a diverse array of artists from Bobby Bare to Sammy Davis, Jr. and from Janis Joplin to Ronnie Milsap. As such, it is apropos that The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson features singers and songwriters from all corners of the musical world. The album begins with Kristoffersonís own narrative about how the title track came into being before Emmylou Harris (with help from Sam Bush, Jon Randall, Byron House, and Randy Scruggs) delivers a harmonious version of The Pilgrim: Chapter 33. Todd Sniderís humorous and poignant Maybe You Heard is an acoustic folk song with faint pedal steel flourishes, while Rosanne Cashís heartbroken Loviní Him Was Easier (Than Anything Iíll Ever Do Again) employs an arrangement that would not be out of place on her latest outing Black Cadillac. Brit-pop star Lloyd Cole and eclectic American singer Jill Sobule join forces for an amiable pop cover of For the Good Times, and Nashville singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman is in strong voice for her juke joint cover of Jesus Was a Capricorn. "New Outlaw" Gretchen Wilson turns in a surprisingly vulnerable Sunday Morniní Cominí Down, which may well be the highlight of the collection.
Elsewhere, Patty Griffin and Charanga Cakewalk take on Sandinista, turning it into a minimalist pop-rock tune infused with Latin flavor. Fellow Austin-ites Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, by contrast, produce a syncopated country-rock interpretation of Help Me Make It Through the Night that is anchored by their trademark vocal harmonies and laid-back style of performance. Only Russell Crowe and the Ordinary Fear of Godís celtic pop-rock rendition of Darbyís Castle and Brian McKnightís mainstream R&B cover of Me and Bobby McGee fall short, and both songs feel stilted and lacking. The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson comes to a close with Willie Nelsonís Tex-Mex flavored The Legend, complete with beautiful dobro and mandolin touches, and a fitting, bare-bones demo from 1970 of Please Donít Tell Me How the Story Ends by Kristofferson himself. Overall, The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson is a relaxed, minimalist production that, save for a pair of lackluster tracks, is a fitting homage to one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century. Ĺ
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box