Worship is at its core about glorifying the Lord, and biblically one of the most prominent expressions of worship is through music. Despite what much of CCM radio may play, worship is not bound by a genre or style. Indie artist Jillienne Cherie
is proof of that point, as she brings her very interesting blend of jazz and folk to listeners with her latest release, Streams in the Desert
. The album opens with a "Ma Tovu," a combination of scriptures sung in Hebrew. Musically, it is fantastic; the interludes resemble something you might hear in a French cafť. However, vocally, the Hebrew lyrics seem to flow but don't seem to match the instrumentation well. Plus, topping out at 9 minutes 35 seconds, it's a very long track to sit through. The rest of the album follows this same musical trend as it blends beautiful jazz with dashes of bluegrass. Some excellent highlights are "Spirit Flow" and the title track, "Streams in the Desert." They almost have a beatnik sound that makes you want to snap your fingers at each track's conclusion. "Father of Lights" and "Grace to You" carry a heavier folk/bluegrass influence, while not strictly sticking to those genres. Fans of Alison Krauss or Marty Stuart might find these tracks as something worth listening to. The album closes in a fashion similar to how it began with "Worthy to Receive All." The track seems to be influenced by Jewish/Middle-Eastern music with a strong symphonic foundation. While the track isn't technically weak, it seems like a strange way to end the album. However, the music is extremely epic with a full wind ensemble backing up Cherie's vocals. Without a doubt, Jillienne Cherie has some amazing talent. The musicianship and vocal quality are very present but the lasting impression of the album is choppy. While predictability can be overrated, disjointed tracks don't make for a solid listening experience. Nevertheless, for folks looking for something very different and enjoy the fusion of jazz with bluegrass, you will find a gem with this album.
- Review date: 6/10/15, written by Ryan Barbee