Some people are just born to make music and Rachel Potter is certainly one of those people. And she is certainly not afraid of dreaming big. On her site, one of her featured quotes is the following: “God doesn’t put dreams in people’s hearts if he doesn’t intend to make them a reality.” She has certainly made this a reality. Potter has a wide variety of experience in music at a young age. She made her name on Broadway in shows such as The Addams Family, Evita and Wicked. She was also on the now defunct USA version of X-Factor in 2013, where she made the top 12. Country music though has always been in her heart, as she was born in New Orleans to parents who met while in a country rock band. Potter enjoyed her success on Broadway, but making country music was her true dream and she set out to accomplish it when she released her Kickstarter-funded Live The Dream EP a few years ago. This past March she released her debut album Not So Black And White and released a single from it more recently, titled “Jesus and Jezebel,” which I’m reviewing today.
Now I’m going to be quite frank up front about this song: it’s arguably the most controversial song ever reviewed on this site and it’s unlike most country songs. The reason it’s unlike most country songs is because it broaches two topics that most artists are afraid to tackle: calling out religion and homosexuality. So I just wanted to let you all know right up front what this song is about. Now onto the song itself. The sounds of banjos and a steel guitar play in “Jesus and Jezebel.” Potter begins to sing about how she breaks many of the rules in the bible and church. She knows this angers many people within her church and that many condemn her to hell for this. But she believes Jesus can love her. Then Potter begins to sing about her best friend Jack, who she befriended in Sunday school (by the way this is all based off her own life). They both grew up and Jack would eventually fall in love with Adam. People don’t agree with this essentially ran them out of the church. Potter’s response to this is Jack and Jesus are as “thick as thieves” and “if you don’t believe us, then maybe you just don’t believe” and “Straight or gay they may say we’re going to straight hell, but I still believe Jesus can love this jezebel.”
Potter then breaks into a small rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” in the bridge, which to me is very clever. There’s also an inclusion of organs and pianos towards the latter part of the song, which fits the song well. The instrumentation is really great throughout the entire song, containing a good variety and pace. It really makes the song catchy and decidedly country too. As for the theme and the lyrics of the song, I think it’s great. Regardless of your stance on homosexuality, you have to give credit to Potter’s unabashed stance on what’s considered “controversial” by many in country music. This kind of song would send any label executive running for the hills, as they prefer safe and bland songs for singles. They never want to take chances. I think Potter approaches the themes in this song with the right amount of grace and sense of humor that really makes for an enjoyable song. The one complaint I have with this song is Potter sounds a little too polished at times, but perhaps that’s nitpicking. After all she was on Broadway. My only other complaint with this song is not with the actual song, but the music video you’ll see below. It’s a little tacky and hokey for my taste. Still I won’t hold this against the song, as the music video has no bearing on the grade.
“Jesus and Jezebel” is the type of country song I want to hear all of the time. It’s bold, fresh and very much relevant in the light of the recent Supreme Court ruling this summer on gay marriage. Some might argue that Potter released this single to exploit this recent news, but it was on her debut album that came out months before the ruling. This isn’t like all of the patriotic songs that came out right after 9/11 happened either. Potter seems to be coming from the heart with this song and releasing it as a single. If you’re open to this song, I think you can enjoy it a lot. For those who are not, just don’t listen. I know I’m listening and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Rachel Potter.