Jessi Colter and Lenny Kaye

Jessi Colter and Lenny Kaye

David McClister

Future outlaw-country star Jessi Colter became her Pentecostal church's pianist in Phoenix in 1954 at age eleven. While helping to co-author the 1996 autobiography of Colter's husband Waylon Jennings, Lenny Kaye heard Colter playing piano and improvising vocals based on the biblical Book of Psalms. Kaye, a musician well-acquainted with the vicissitudes of spirit through his longtime day job as the Patti Smith Band's guitarist, immediately offered to produce an album that would capture Colter "reaching for the infinite." Kaye lays ambient guitar feedback over Colter's piano and voice during "Praise Ye the Lord" ("Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: Praise him with the psaltery and harp"), while false starts and an impromptu spoken interpretation kick off "Like a Beast," which continues with a full band. Revelation may be in store when the devotional duo perform music from their forthcoming The Psalms here.
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