OK, it's old news already that Keith Richards plays guitar on the album My Soul Is a Witness. Frank Lockwood of the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote the most playful story about the skeletal rock star's gospel turn:
The book and compact-disc project is the brainchild of Richards' sister-in-law, concert vocalist Marsha Hansen.
. . . Hansen, who is married to a Lutheran minister, says she didn't have to twist her in-law's arm to get his assistance.
"His understanding of music is very deep -- not just rock music," she said. "He's particularly intrigued by African-American music, roots music."
Richards isn't a Lutheran.
"He probably does not claim a particular affiliation," Hansen said, "but he loves the music."
. . . On the recording, Richards sounds like he enjoyed making the music.
"Obviously, you hear Keith chattering in the background. You can hear some of our comments and our laughter. That's part of the mood of the CD. We had a wonderful time," Hansen said.
Richards' wife, Patti Hansen, is the sister of the Rev. Rodney Hansen, Marsha Hansen's husband and the pastor of Mount Hope Lutheran Church in El Paso, Texas.
I've not seen any story this week that picks up on this report by Christopher Standford, published in November 2003 by The Spectator:
Richards married for the first and only time on his 40th birthday in 1983, and it probably saved his life. His bride was the 27-year-old Patti Hansen, a home-town girl from Staten Island, New York, and a devout Lutheran. His in-laws gave a startling interview in which they portrayed Keith as an 'enthusiastic disciple of Christ' and that he 'embraced Christ as a way of life'. Under Patti's influence, Richards cut back on drugs, attended church from time to time and even started a gentle exercise regime. 'She's a wonderful girl; I ain't letting the bitch go!' he confirmed in a speech at his wedding reception. Keith may have written 'Sympathy For The Devil' back when, but these days much of his life is spent with a woman who attends a weekly Bible study group and who won't stand for swearing around the house.
Augsburg's website says My Soul Is a Witness is currently out of stock, which may, in the months to come, be as much of a wry understatement as "Richards isn't a Lutheran."
Photo of Keith Richards by Kirill Shabunov, via Flickr.