Lucinda Williams
Where The Spirit Meets The Bone [2CDs]

Lucinda Williams — Where The Spirit Meets The Bone [2CDs] [September 30, 2014]

USA Flag Lucinda Williams — Where The Spirit Meets The Bone

 EXCELLENT ALBUM Lucinda Williams — Where The Spirit Meets The Bone / NOMINATTAIS AWARDS 2015.
♠   Album je jak to říct? Nejlepší práce Lucindy Williams. Morální imperativ na tomto albu řídí všechno. V době, kdy protestsong se téměř rozplynul do nebytí, je to naléhavé volání po změně.
♠   Album však končí 10-ti minutovým coverrem J.J. Calea "Magnolia". Možná, že LW je básníkem 'after all'. Guest musicians include guitarists Bill Frisell, Tony Joe White, Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, and Elvis Costello rhythm section members Pete Thomas (drums) and Davey Faragaher (bass) and Wallflowers guitarist Stuart Mathis. The Wallflowers’ Jakob Dylan sings harmony on “It’s Gonna Rain.”
♠   Three-time Grammy Award winner...
Born: January 26, 1953
Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana ~ Los Angeles, California, United States
Album release: September 30, 2014
Record Label: Highway 20 Records/Thirty Tigers
Duration:     47:49 + 55:25 => 103:14
01. Compassion      2:58
02. Protection      4:48
03. Burning Bridges      4:49
04. East Side Of Town      4:56
05. West Memphis      5:45
06. Cold Day In Hell      5:16
07. Foolishness      5:58
08. Wrong Number      5:01
09. Stand Right By Each Other      3:59
10. It's Gonna Rain      4:19
01. Something Wicked This Way Comes      5:45
02. Big Mess      5:32
03. When I Look At The World      4:56
04. Walk On      4:11
05. Temporary Nature (Of Any Precious Thing)      5:05
06. Everything But The Truth      5:11
07. This Old Heartache      5:03
08. Stowaway In Your Heart      3:28
09. One More Day      6:22
10. Magnolia      9:52
Producers: Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz                                       CREDITS:
♣     David Bianco Engineer, Mixing
♣     Kim Buie A&R
♣     J.J. Cale Composer
♣     Gia Ciambotti Vocals (Background)
♣     Jakob Dylan Vocal Harmony
♣     Davey Faragher Bass
♣     Bill Frisell Guitar (Electric)
♣     Joe Gastwirt Mastering
♣     Bob Glaub Bass
♣     Birney Imes Back Cover Photo, Cover Photo
♣     Jordan Katz Trumpet
♣     Greg Leisz Drums, Guitar (12 String Electric), Guitar (Ac. + El.), Lap Steel Guitar, Pedal Steel, Percussion, Producer, Vocals (Background)
♣     Stuart Mathis Guitar (Electric)
♣     Val McCallum Guitar (Electric)
♣     Ian McLagan Organ, Piano, Wurlitzer
♣     Butch Norton Drums
♣     Tom Overby Producer
♣     Doug Pettibone Guitar (Electric), Vocals (Background)
♣     David Ralicke Euphonium, Saxophone
♣     Ivy Skoff A&R
♣     David Spreng Engineer
♣     Sebastian Steinberg Bass
♣     David Sutton Bass
♣     Pete Thomas Drums, Percussion
♣     Patrick Warren Autoharp, Chamberlin, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Pump Organ
♣     Tony Joe White Guitar (Electric), Harmonica
♣     Lucinda Williams Composer, Guitar (Ac.), Lyric Adaptations, Lyricist, Producer, Vocals
♣     Miller Williams Composer, Lyricist, Quotation Author
♣     Jonathan Wilson Guitar (Electric)
♣     Michael Wilson Photography

Editorial Reviews
♣      "The new album from Lucinda Williams, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone. Produced by Tom Overby, Greg Leisz and Lucinda Williams, Recorded and Mixed by Dave Bianco, Mastered by Joe Gastwirt.The new album is her most ambitious release to date. Twenty + songs were recorded off and on between September of 2013 through March of 2014. Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone finds Lucinda tapping into her southern roots for this double album.The songs are amplified by a range of musical talents that include Greg Leisz, Tony Joe White, Pete Thomas, Gia Ciambotti, Bill Frisell and Jakob Dylan." (
In french:
♣   Un double album de Lucinda, c'est deux fois plus de bonheur. Vivement recommandé!                                            © Photo credit: Michael Wilson
By TOM MOON, September 21, 201411:03 PM ET
♣   There's something wonderfully contrarian about Lucinda Williams ending one of her multi-year silences with a double album. In 2014, no one is supposed to have time to appreciate three straight songs from one artist, much less an entire album.
♣   So here comes Williams, the perceptive and much-lauded songwriter whose early works helped define alt-country and Americana, with a characteristically ornery response: Double down. She's got a big batch of new songs — in interviews, she says she recorded many more than the 20 on offer here — and evidently feels they form a unified statement. It's not hard to imagine her sitting on a grand Southern front porch somewhere far from the cities, sifting through this creative bounty and becoming frustrated by the task of choosing the keepers. "One album is too much? Give 'em two. See how they like that."
♣   That's just the first challenge. The wizened opening notes of Disc 1 (total time: 48 minutes) might make even the most loyal Williams worshiper a bit worried about what lies ahead. The song, "Compassion," marks the first time Lucinda Williams has adapted one of the poems written by her father, the revered poet Miller Williams. At its heart is a Sunday-school-simple message: Give everyone you meet compassion, because you never know about the "wars going on down where the spirit meets the bone." But she dispenses that homily with a foreboding growl. Backed by pleasant acoustic guitars, Williams sounds dark, weathered, almost defeated — like she could use an extra infusion of compassion, and maybe a hot cup of coffee.
♣   By the time that song ends, listeners may find themselves questioning this extra-large time investment. How deep a dive does one take into this world? How much Lucinda Williams Sings the Hard Luck Songbook does a person need?
♣   Then the band fires up a Tom Petty-style rocker called "Protection," and it's a new day. Williams slithers through its opening mantras in that blunt and crystallizing way of hers, sweeping listeners (even skeptical ones) into her plainspoken genius. The song turns on a simple oppositional device: Each verse finds her talking about needing protection from some big adversary, "the enemies of righteousness," or "the enemies of rock 'n' roll," or "the enemies of love." On the page, this sounds meta and contrived, but in her rendering, the adversaries don't register as abstract: She shouts as though she's picked up the scent of hellhounds approaching. There's raw backwoods fierceness in her cadences, as well as deep resolve — qualities that start in her trembling voice and from there come to permeate every guitar chord and backbeat.
♣   This is Williams' wheelhouse. Her best songs (here and on such enduring albums as 1980's Happy Woman Blues and 1992's Sweet Old World) frame daily existence as a scrappy and likely unwinnable dogfight between good and evil, and she sings them in a way that plunges listeners into the gritty dirt-under-the-fingernails details.
♣   In her world, the deck is stacked against the gracious. Mal-doers lurk everywhere, soul-level suffering is a given, and just surviving is a victory. Williams' characters live perpetually under threats real and imagined; sometimes she lets them experience something that sounds suspiciously like joy ("Stowaway in Your Heart"), but more often she extracts some abiding wisdom from the wreckage of failed relationships and mismanaged flings.
♣   Throughout Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, her 11th album, Williams borrows a device common in the recent songwriting of Bruce Springsteen, using a billboard-sized slogan for the refrain ("Burning Bridges") and then taking it down to human scale in the verses. She follows the downward trajectories of cowardly sad sacks who hurt others as their lives fall apart (one of those narratives, the country weeper "Wrong Number," glances back at her great early song "Changed the Locks" with the couplet, "He was late on the rent, and the locks were changed.")
♣   As she's done so eloquently in the past, Williams captures regret in its many forms and guises: Sometimes she uses beautifully airborne poetic language to convey its corrosion (see "Temporary Nature of Any Precious Thing"), and sometimes, as in "Cold Day in Hell," she transforms a cliche into a vessel for the expression of a hurt that sounds profound and disquietingly fresh. This fixation on the sour end of the emotional spectrum aligns Williams with the blues, and it's no accident that some of the most powerful music here draws directly from that realm. To hear what Williams might have sounded like trading verses with Koko Taylor in the swaggering classic "Wang Dang Doodle," check the delightfully snarly "Something Wicked This Way Comes."
♣   That track, along with a ruminative 10-minute foray into J.J. Cale's "Magnolia" and a few other originals on Disc 2 (total time: 55 minutes) suggest that Williams, now 61, has grown savvy about the cracked quality of her modern-day voice. She's always been able to conjure brokenhearted misery from a single note; now, she can ramp up to fury that quickly, too. And resignation. And let's face it: In terms of pure expression, no singer in popular music can touch Williams when she's calling from the lonely outskirts of Despairville. She sounds like it's her permanent residence, that place down deep where the spirit meets the bone. (
♠♣   There's poetry in music, but it's never found in words alone. Perhaps no living artist exemplifies this better than Lucinda Williams: She isn't a poet, and her lyrics are often sparse almost to the point of cliché, but she enlivens them with the specificity of her vocal delivery. Her range is limited, but she uses her voice's eccentricities to maximum emotional effect. When she sings, "I take off my watch and my earrings," on the opening track of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, she conveys not only a woman's precise movements, but all the longing and emptiness they imply. (Excerpt)
By Tom Finkel, Thu., Sep. 4 2014 at 9:00 AM
♣   It’s not all that hard to find an artist who’s capable of offering a guided tour of life’s dark clouds — nor is it rare to come into contact with one who can hone in on the silver lining. But the ability to do both with equal grace, well, that’s an altogether rarer gift — and it’s one that Lucinda Williams displays with remarkable élan on her latest Lost Highway album, Blessed.
♣   Blessed, recorded at the end of what Williams calls “a really big writing streak that gave me enough to make two albums,” brings those textures to play in some of the most straightforward songs she’s ever written. While it’s not a concept album as such, Blessed — recorded with producer Don Was — brings together a dozen masterfully-crafted pieces that fall into place beautifully, their welcoming sonic tenor offering an ideal foil for the conversational narrative that runs through the dozen short stories — tales that take in plenty of topical territory, but invariably end up offering the listener a sense of affirmation.
♣   “Being married and feeling comfortable in my life, I’ve been able to go outside myself and write about other things,” she says. “I feel like this album, as a whole, is positive, but it’s not my so-called ‘happy’ album. Yes, I’m in love and I’m happy in my personal life. But my personal life isn’t the only focus. There aren’t all those unrequited love, ‘I’ve been shot down by a bad boy songs’ … well, there’s one of those … but there are songs about all sorts of things. It’s just a lot easier to stretch these days.”
♣   The expanse of Williams’ palette is gradually revealed over the course of Blessed, a collection that unfolds in an origami-like fashion. The gentle plaint of “I Don’t Know How You’re Livin” — a stripped-to-the-bone track on which she uses the appealingly weathered edges to carve out a loving message of hope — gives way to the pedal-steel laced “Copenhagen”, a tender requiem for her late manager.
♣   While that air of mortality imbues a few of Blessed’s songs — notably the fiercely slashing “Seeing Black,” on which Williams cuts through a hail of angry guitars that come courtesy of Elvis Costello, who makes a rare non-vocal cameo, with stark, poignant questions to a friend who chose to end his life, the album offers as many looks at the light at the end of the tunnel as it does glances into the abyss. “Kiss Like Your Kiss” exudes a sassy sensuality, while the closing “Sweet Love” is, quite simply, an aural incarnation of that title, pure, warm and sweet.
♣   “I didn’t have a fully realized picture of what I wanted the album to sound like going in, but I hardly ever do,” says Williams. “Back when I was playing open mic nights by myself, I’d be sitting up there with my Martin guitar and doing ‘Angel’ by Jimi Hendrix or ‘Politician’ by Cream’ alongside Robert Johnson and Memphis Minnie songs. It never occurred to me to pick just one style. That’s stayed with me ever since. ”
♣   Williams has never hesitated to wave that flag of iconoclasm, but she’s never used it as a shield. Ever since the release of her 1978 debut Ramblin’ on My Mind (recorded on the fly with a mere $250 budget behind her), the Louisiana-bred singer-songwriter has been ready, willing and able to call upon both her natural affinity for roots music and her familial literary tradition. She learned the importance of professional integrity around the same time most kids are learning their ABCs, thanks in large part to her award-winning poet father Miller Williams — who invested her with a “culturally rich, but economically poor” upbringing where artistic expression was of primary importance.
♣   “Thanks to my dad, I grew up around poets and novelists and they all had families and normal lives and most of them didn’t achieve even nominal success until much later in life,” she recalls. “I have to keep reminding people that, yeah, I’m a musician, but first and foremost, I’m an artist and art is about expression, about expressing your feelings about what you’re going through every day. I think this is the closest I’ve come to capturing that essence completely as an artist.”
♣   She’s never settled for any sort of pigeonholing, entering the ‘90s with the rich, sepia-toned Sweet Old World — a disc that, as much as any release, helped place the Americana movement at the forefront of listeners’ minds — and cementing her own spot in the cultural lexicon with 1998’s raw, immediate masterpiece Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. The latter disc earned Williams her first Grammy Award as a performer (she’d also scored one as a writer thanks to Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s version of her “Passionate Kisses”), but rather than try to capture the same lightning in a bottle a second time, she stretched her boundaries on 2001’s Essence, an album rife with both cerebral interludes and soul-stirring stomps.
♣   In recent times, Williams has shown herself to be the kind of artist who’ll never back down from a challenge, whether collaborating with surprisingly kindred spirits like M. Ward and Flogging Molly or putting her own spin on iconic tunes like Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” and Jimmy Webb’s classic “Galveston”. She’s taken that same approach to her most recent recordings as a solo artist as well: The 2006 release West and 2008’s buoyant Little Honey — an album Paste hailed as “an album that brims with varied, impeccable writing” — made for an ethereal emotional travelogue that takes in both great loss and the sort of discovery one can only make when emotional barriers are taken down.
♣   “People buy into this myth that once you’re quote happy unquote, you just die as an artist — that’s inane. It’s ridiculous,” she says. “People have actually asked me, ‘well, will you still be able to write now that your life is happy?’ That’s a somewhat pedantic point of view, the myth that happiness can’t be part of the backbone of creativity.”
♣   Indeed, she takes on a number of roles here, from the fallen fighter who narrates the whisper-soft elegy “Soldier’s Song” to the affably hard-nosed kiss-off specialist delivering “Buttercup.” But whatever the topic, Williams’ voice — both literally and figuratively — is unmistakable. It’s a voice that conveys experience without world-weariness, purity of spirit without naiveté — a combination that reaches its zenith on the album’s title track, a poignant acknowledgment of those who bestow blessings upon us each day, whether we know it or not.
♣   “I had this image in my mind of how a stranger can affect you, and you them, at the same time,” she says. “We have this concept that someone who is less fortunate than we are in some way has nothing to offer us, and that’s not true at all. Everyone has a gift to give as long as you’re willing to accept it, from the girl selling flowers at a Mexican restaurant to the homeless man on the street. It’s all about the hope that there’s good in humanity if you look for it — which is really the feel of the whole album.”
♣   By the time Blessed’s final notes resound, that hope will not only be clear, it’s likely to be passed on to the listener — paid forward in the most touching way. © Lucinda Williams House of Blues Boston
March 9, 2011 — Grammy-winning country aritst Lucinda Williams performs with Butch Norton on drums at the House of Blues in Boston, Mass. on Wednesday, March 9. Photo by Melissa Jay. Copyright Melissa Jay 2011


Lucinda Williams
Where The Spirit Meets The Bone [2CDs]