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Live At the Fillmore

Lucinda Williams

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Album Review

Lucinda Williams has earned a reputation for her meticulous approach to making albums, but a careful listen to her work suggests that she isn't trying to make her music sound perfect, she just wants it to sound right, and she isn't afraid to spend the extra time waiting for the charmed moment to get caught on tape. This attitude seems to be borne out in her first-ever concert album, Live @ The Fillmore, which manages to sound carefully considered, and a model of "warts and all" authenticity at the same time. Recorded during a three-night stand in San Francisco, the album captures Williams' band in superb form — Doug Pettibone's guitars, Taras Prodaniuk's bass, and Jim Christie's drums merge into a tight and emphatic groove machine that can match Williams's many moods, whether she's quietly contemplative on "Blue," rocking out hard on "Changed the Locks," or howling the blues on "Essence," while the deeply resonant recording and mix gives them the royal treatment. Williams herself is a slightly more complicated matter here — her performance is deeply into the spirit, so much so that sometimes her melismatic wanderings and broad phrasing sound like they're verging on caricature. But this is clearly a recording of a performance, and by the time we get to the end of disc two, the broad strokes have coalesced into something quite remarkable; as Williams searches through the nooks and crannies of her songs, you sense she's discovering things that she didn't expect to find, and it's a tremendous thing to hear. Lucinda Williams is an artist who writes from her soul, and she's thoroughly unafraid of letting her passion show when she sings. If that makes for strained technique, it also results in very real art, and this album offers a privileged glimpse of a singular songwriter in full flight.

Biography

Born: 26 January 1953 in Lake Charles, LA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The object of cultish adoration for years, singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams was universally hailed as a major talent by both critics and fellow musicians, but it took quite some time for her to parlay that respect into a measure of attention from the general public. Part of the reason was her legendary perfectionism: Williams released records only infrequently, often taking years to hone both the material and the recordings thereof. Plus, her early catalog was issued on smaller labels that agreed...
Full bio