Once in a lifetime an artist comes along who vividly portrays our modern predicament, eloquently captures the hope for the best in us and builds a bridge to that brighter hope. Jallen Rix does just that on his debut CD, an instantly appealing album that grabs your ears and takes you along on an impassioned journey to integrate spirituality and sexuality.
The 31-year-old has the incredible ear for a melodic turn of phrase that you'd expect from a piano-based songwriter. His melodies course along, trickling like a bubbling brook or rushing in a torrent like the rapids of the river wild. His plaintive lyrics lift the spirit and reflect on modern society in manner similar to the style of Bruce Hornsby's best work. Rix possesses a pop voice stylized with a lot of character; passionate, masterfully emotional, yet intimate as a heart-to-heart talk with a good friend. Rix's flowing grand piano work is ever-present throughout, and the tracks feature fervent backup vocals by Emit Powell and the Gospel Elites. Rix is a man with a mission that could be summed up as: come together. The lean, muscular Californian is understandably concerned about the divisiveness between the religious and gay communities. Rix grew up in an oppressive fundamentalist Southern Baptist environment, where his sexuality was not tolerated, and understandably left all that behind. His heart now lies in trying to bring the fragmented dichotomies of the spiritual and sexual together.
Deeply romantic, political, compassionate and inspiring, his album is a collection of beautiful ballads and medium-tempo rockers including "The Pendulum Swings," "What the Preacher Did to Me," "We Have Learned to Hate" and "Dare to Dream." Admirably daring in scope, while set squarely in the pop pocket with a number of production delights, The Sacred and the Queer is a carefully crafted queer masterpiece.