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Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson

The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson

by Kris Kristofferson
Released to mark the 70th birthday of legendary songwriter Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim brings together artists from various disciplines to reprise some classics as well as lesser-known songs. Marta Gomez gives "The Circle" an evocative Spanish tinge; Brian McKnight renders "Me and Bobby McGee" as a sultry hip-hop come-on; Marshall Chapman gives "Jesus Was a


Released to mark the 70th birthday of legendary songwriter Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim brings together artists from various disciplines to reprise some classics as well as lesser-known songs. Marta Gomez gives "The Circle" an evocative Spanish tinge; Brian McKnight renders "Me and Bobby McGee" as a sultry hip-hop come-on; Marshall Chapman gives "Jesus Was a Capricorn" a grinding, down-home southern soul twist; Russell Crowe (yes, that Russell Crowe) & the Ordinary Fear of God give the tragic story-song "Darby's Castle" a muted, Irish-inflected grandeur. But it's the artists with personal connections to Kristofferson who steal the show. On "The Silver Tongued Devil & I," Shooter Jennings offers a bluesy, boozy honky-tonk lament before busting into an attitudinal, sputtering strut; Rosanne Cash is both ethereal and sensuous in a shimmering rendition of "Lovin' Him Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)"; Rodney Crowell takes "Come Sundown" straight to the honky-tonk dance floor, where a steel guitar, tinkling piano, and twangy lead guitar set the pace; and Willie Nelson gives "The Legend" ("Were we better men / than we'd ever been") a stately south-of-the border flavor to a tale of a legendary outsider who gets away with it all. Emmylou Harris, Jessi Colter, and Gretchen Wilson all acquit themselves admirably as well, and Kris himself shows up in a spoken intro preceding Harris's dramatic "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" and tenderly works his way through a stark 1970 demo of "Please Don't Tell Me how the Story Ends." Surely, that's yet a long ways away.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
The success of a tribute album is fully dependent on the contributors' ability to put their egos aside and kneel at the altar of the artist being feted. The crew honoring Kris Kristofferson here had no trouble doing that. Though some of the featured artists -- particularly Rosanne Cash, Shooter Jennings, Jessi Colter, and, of course, Willie Nelson -- were family and friends while others were admirers from afar, there's a palpable sense of love and respect permeating this cozy and homey 70th birthday party. Kristofferson, already in his thirties when Nashville took notice of him in the late '60s and early '70s, was a prime mover among the "outlaw" songwriters and singers who turned the country music business on its ear, bringing to it a rock & roll attitude marked by a stark new realism. His songs have been covered by many over the years, and the most successful interpretations have been those that drilled to the core and found the honesty and originality the writer gave them without slavishly aping the original. Only a few of the performers on this American Roots label collection, the follow-up to a similar set spotlighting Stephen Foster, stray far from Kristofferson's blueprints, but all understand who they're dealing with and what he's about. Those tracks that take the most liberty -- Patty Griffin and Charanga Cakewalk's sprinkling of Latin and electronica touches on "Sandinista"; Brian McKnight's spare, soulful "Me and Bobby McGee"; Rodney Crowell's honky tonkin' "Come Sundown" -- are among the most satisfying. Marshall Chapman's bluesy, boozy take on "Jesus Was a Capricorn" imbues one of Kristofferson's cornerstone compositions with the proper balance of humor and profundity, and the pairing of Lloyd Cole and Jill Sobule on "For the Good Times," with its soft harmonies and longing tenderness, is inspired. Gretchen Wilson doesn't make "Sunday Morning Coming Down" her own by any means, but she conveys the song's vulnerability. Lastly, Kristofferson himself tosses in a circa-1970 demo recording of "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" -- a nice touch, but somewhat superfluous. The album's major clunker? Not too surprisingly it's Russell Crowe -- yes, that Russell Crowe -- crooning his way through "Darby's Castle" competently if overdramatically. But even if the irascible actor is far from the best singer on the album, he too lets it be known that he's in awe of its subject.

Product Details

Release Date:
Thirty Tigers


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kris Kristofferson   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Spoken Word
Sam Bush   Mandolin,Background Vocals
Rosanne Cash   Vocals
Rodney Crowell   Vocals
Emmylou Harris   Guitar,Vocals
Willie Nelson   Guitar,Vocals
Kelly Willis   Vocals
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions   Keyboards,Vocals
Marshall Chapman   Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jill Sobule   Guitar,Vocals
Lloyd Green   Steel Guitar
Phil Madeira   Keyboards
Bobby Wood   Electric Piano
Brian McKnight   Vocals
Jessi Colter   Vocals
Mickey Raphael   Harmonica
Todd Snider   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Larry Atamanuik   Drums
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Shawn Camp   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
J.T. Corenflos   Electric Guitar,Guitar (12 String Electric)
Stuart Duncan   Mandolin
Murray Foster   Bass
Patty Griffin   Guitar,Vocals
John Hobbs   Keyboards
Byron House   Upright Bass,Standup Bass
Rob Ickes   Dobro
Zev Katz   Bass
John Leventhal   Guitar,Piano,Hammond Organ
Gary Morse   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Dave Pomeroy   Upright Bass
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Bruce Robison   Vocals
David Roe   Upright Bass
Randy Scruggs   Acoustic Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Tommy Spurlock   Pedal Steel Guitar
Chip Dolan   Keyboards
Keith Gattis   Guitar
Jon Randall   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
RIck DePofi   Percussion
Ray Riendeau   Bass
Richard Pagano   Drums
Conrad Choucroun   Drums
Alan Doyle   Guitar,Background Vocals
Russell Crowe   Vocals
Stewart Kirwan   Flugelhorn,Background Vocals
Julio Santillan   Guitar
Ted Kamp   Bass,Background Vocals
Gretchen Wilson   Vocals
Eric McConnell   Bass
Marta Gomez   Vocals
Shooter Jennings   Organ,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Leroy Powell   Dobro,Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Stuart Hunter   Piano
Peter Cooper   Vocal Harmony

Technical Credits

Kris Kristofferson   Composer,Introduction
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Jill Sobule   Producer
Brian McKnight   Producer,Instrumentation
Todd Snider   Producer
Stephen Bruton   Composer
Shawn Camp   Producer
Steve Fishell   Producer
Fred Foster   Composer
John Leventhal   Producer,Engineer
Steve Marcantonio   Engineer
Buddy Miller   Engineer
Michael Ramos   Producer,Engineer
Ron Reynolds   Engineer
Bruce Robison   Producer
Randy Scruggs   Producer,Engineer
Tony Wall   Engineer
RIck DePofi   Engineer
Kevin Szymanski   Engineer
C. Wood   Engineer
Richard Barrow   Engineer
Alan Doyle   Producer
Tamara Saviano   Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Julio Santillan   Producer,Engineer
Tom Frouge   Executive Producer
Gretchen Wilson   Producer
Eric McConnell   Producer
Marta Gomez   Producer
Peter Cooper   Liner Notes

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