Krishna Das

Recordings of Hindu devotional music don’t sound like the bee’s knees to you? Hey, the late George Harrison could make “Hare Krishna” sound mighty inviting. And while Krishna Das ( Jeff Kagel, 50-something native of Long Island, N.Y.) may be a lot less tethered to pop music’s narrative form than the former Beatle was, he certainly knows how to put a good hook across. Das sings in a warm, pleasant baritone reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot, and the six songs here are, temporally, each equivalents of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” But, alas, no Canadian shipwrecks are mentioned; instead, these celestial chants—produced by hard-rock maven Rick Rubin, who cut his devotional music canines with the late qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan—typically start with simple melodic phrases that build into ecstatic juggernauts of sonic bliss that feature a host of stringed instruments and choral voices.