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West (Bonus Track Version)

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With Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, her 1998 tour de force, Lucinda Williams finally perfected the approach that gave her voice the vitality needed to sustain her depressive missives. Each studio album since has been a subtle variation on that approach. Most of the time she whispers more and allows her voice to languidly deliver her physical and emotional desires until everything sounds sleepy-eyed and seductive. This is one slow burning album. While album credit readers will be excited to see the esteemed names Jim Keltner on drums and Hal Willner as producer, they merely serve the occasion. This is still the Lucinda Williams show from the beginning longing of “Are You Alright?” through the album’s brooding title track that closes the album. In between, she uses her southern sassiness to repeat phrases until the obsessive-compulsive nature of her desires is clear. “Learning How To Live” proceeds with a stately organ warming the vibe. “Fancy Funeral” and “Unsuffer Me” are as desperate as their titles suggest, unafraid to slow down to the point of doom. “I long for bliss,” she sings. Depends on how you define it.

Customer Reviews

Solid, but could have been better

I am a big fan of Lucinda Williams. I buy her albums before listening to them. In fact, her last 3 albums are some of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of work that I have heard. I am not a big fan of the producing on Lucinda's new album. I have seen her on the road and heard a few of her new songs. They sounded better live than on the album. I was disappointed by how Where Is My Love turned out. In concert she played it with a slow and desolate tone that I think the song warrants. Instead they added an annoying rythm guitar constantly strumming in the background and annoying drums that sound almost like a drum machine. It makes it hard to follow the melody of her voice. Where are the rest of the songs she played on the road like jailhouse tears and knowing? I was really looking forward to those, but they are absent from West. The album could use a bit more melody as well. Please bring charlie sexton back. I think her songs are perfectly suited for that slower and pared down ambience that she had on her last 2 albums. I think she should stick to ambience or roots, in other words Car Wheels or Essence. Instead we get something in between and its an akward fit that I dont think does the songs justice. The album seems to be lacking alot of the melody and great fills that added so much to her previous albums. I didnt write the songs and Lucinda has the right to do whatever she wants with them, I just think that Lucinda has greatness in her whenever she goes into the studio, and I think the producer didnt quite harness it on these tracks. I was really looking forward to this one. Lucinda, I think this album is solid, but it could have been great with a different approach. I understand that you probably wanted to try something new and grow, but i dont think there is anything wrong with going back to what works. I look forward to the next album.

Come out west...

Lucinda Williams is back, and is sounding better than ever on "West." This is a different Williams than the one who delivered "Car Wheels," her critically acclaimed masterpiece. This is the Williams from "Essence" and "World Without Tears." She continues her writing craft with the aching beauty that has captivated so many people into crowning her the queen of Americana. This is definitely a different sounding record. But it is different in a good way. The production isn't quite as sparse as it was on "World Without Tears." There is a stronger connection between the songs on this album. Strings are added, and often give the songs a haunting feeling that matches Williams' voice. It is clear that the writing on this album deals with a lot of hurt. Then again, this is pretty standard for Williams. But, on "West," the hurt is relentless. This is the kind of album that you want to get lost in, perhaps with a glass of whiskey. This is not a bad thing. Some of the standout songs that really highlight WIlliams' craft are "Are You Alright?" "Fancy Funeral," "Everything Has Changed," "Wrap My Head Around That," and "West." This is not to say the other songs are not important, because the album is great from start to finish, with no skips required, it's just that these songs really highligh what Williams is all about. This album should not be missed. Nor should her entire catalog of material. This is American Music at it's pinnacle. This is Lucinda Williams.

The one I've been waiting for

I’d have to describe this as the Lucinda Williams album I’ve been waiting for. My introduction to her music was with the album “Essence” specifically for that title cut, which was one of the most raw and erotic songs I’d ever heard. I grew to love her songwriting and her voice. I backed into “Car Wheels”, and only liked a couple songs from this earlier album. Going backwards in the catalog proved to country for me. “World Without Tears” was a bit disappointing for me, in that I didn’t warm to the songs very quickly, and found her delivery to be a bit exaggerated. Kind of like someone trying too hard to sound drunk and edgy. But I did like the album. Felt the same way about “Live at The Fillmore”, although do like the album, as I’m a big fan of live albums. The production and arrangement on “World” also didn’t seem to be quite right for her voice. But….this album solves all my problems. It is more toward singer/songwriter genre, which means it is less rocky, which may disappoint some, but this album is about her voice. I love all the songs, and her voice seems to have just the right combination of presence, world-weariness and sincerity. The production and arrangement is perfect for her voice. This would be the best album by which to introduce her to someone who is expecting to hear all the great things that have been written and said about her. Favorite songs: (including all, albums) “Essence” “Sweet Old World” (great song, although Emmylou Harris’s version is better) “Broken Butterflies” Similar good albums of genre: Lizzie West “Holy Road, Freedom Songs” (the one with the red lipstick, not the other “Holy Road”. ) Mary Gauthier “Mercy Now”


Born: January 26, 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...
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