Judee Sill died of a drug overdose in 1979 at the age of 35 after releasing two classic collections, Judee Sill and Heart Food. Frida Hyvönen offers a gorgeous take on the California folkie’s ’71 track “Jesus Was A Crossmaker” for Crayon Angel: A Tribute to the Music of Judee Sill (9/22, American Dust). We asked her about it.
What’s your history with Judee Sill?
I was introduced to her music by music writer Andres Lokko, who brought me her CD’s as a gift, on the release night of my first album. Fell in love, madly.
How did you decide to cover “Jesus Was A Crossmaker”?
I like the anxiously soothing almost-believing prayer that is repeated over and over in the song: “Sweet Silver Angels over the sea, / Please come down flying low for me…” It’s one of those songs that do you good when you sing it. You can play it forever. Last week I performed it with a symphony orchestra, which was glamorous, but somehow didn’t feel right. I think I prefer to play this song at home — it’s so internal, not like a story you want to declare loudly to someone, but a story you tell your self into. I think that’s the case with most of Judee’s songs. They are intimate.
What’s the song mean to you
To me the song tells of looking for something beyond a good/evil duality, looking for a … third thing. It’s telling a story in order to understand something.