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Judee Sill was an American singer and songwriter. She released two albums and partially completed a third album before her death in 1979. Sill encountered Graham Nash and David Crosby and toured with them for a time as their opening act, a year before the release of her debut album. She was hired by the Turtles to write songs, on which a few of them appeared on her debut album, such as "Lady-O". Two of Sill's biggest influences were Bach and Ray Charles.
Judee Sill's eponymous debut album of the same name was originally released in late 1971. Backing musicians include John Beck and Jim Pons from the Leaves. The majority of the album was produced by Henry Lewy, noted for his work with Joni Mitchell throughout the 70s. Graham Nash handled the duties for the single "Jesus Was a Cross Maker" with his production designed to aim for radio airplay before the release of the album. Judee Sill featured Sill's voice in multiple overdubs, often in a four-part chorale or fugue. The songs are delivered in an acoustic style on guitar and, for "Jesus was a Cross Maker" and "Enchanted Sky Machines," on piano. The songs on the album feature elements of folk, country, and gospel, but also strong classical influences.
Sill was heavily influenced by Bach, especially his suites, while lyrically her work drew substantially on Christian themes of rapture and redemption. A number of later songwriters have been fans of her work including Andy Partridge, Liz Phair, Warren Zevon, and Shawn Colvin. She was also included in The Billboard Guide to Contemporary Christian Music; her faith was debatable, but she made frequent use of Christian symbolism in her lyrics, her music has been described as "intensely devotional".