Rickie Lee Jones on Bix, Billie and the art of song


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Rickie Lee Jones, the acclaimed singer and songwriter, is on a short tour that includes a Saturday stop at the Temple Performing Arts Center, formerly the Baptist Temple.

Jones' smashing debut album of 1979, Rickie Lee Jones, brought a jazz-infused, bohemian-poet ethos to both pop music and fashion, and her idiosyncratic approach to composition and singing has influenced artists from Tori Amos to Norah Jones.

Her most recent album, last year's Balm in Gilead, reflected on family, friends, maturity, and the search for the spiritual. For this tour, she's playing all of her exquisite first two albums, Rickie Lee Jones (whose highlights include “Weasel and the White Boys Cool" and “Chuck E's in Love") and Pirates of 1981 ("We Belong Together" and “Skeletons").

Below is the full version of Rickie Lee Jones' e-mail exchange with John Timpane:

Inquirer: Why these two albums, and why now?

Rickie Lee Jones: I am doing the first two records because these are the records people most often cite as the most important to their ... history. And critics as well, generally. And it does seem like it was on fire then. I like the idea of doing the record as recorded, in sequence. It's the way I would like to hear some of my favorite artists. Imagine [Van Morrison's] Astral Weeks as it was. . . . I saw Morrison do Astral Weeks a year ago. Not in sequence, I don't think. Don't remember, though. So I am into this giving folks what they need to feel so good, so good. Why not?

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