DIARY - 21 JANUARY 2009 - LUCINDA WILLIAMS CD REVIEW
WILLIAMS HITS HIGHWAY IN BUICK 6
LITTLE HONEY (Lost Highway-Universal)
thing about you so far/ you squeeze my peaches/ then you send me postcards
of girls on beaches." - Real Love - Lucinda Williams
Williams skated on the jagged edges of her oft-broken heart for far
too long on recent discs but has recovered to shoot straight from
Love with new fiancé - indie record store manager and co-producer
Tom Overby - is a lustful lubricant for Louisiana born Lucinda.
Williams vocal Viagara, driven by her road band Buick 6, kicks in
on riveting entrée Real Love, and climaxes, so to speak,
on lust fuelled Honey Bee, on her ninth album.
It would seem the latter explodes with equal doses of aural and oral
pleasure when she sings "you've become my weakness/ now I've
got your sweetness, all up in my hair."
It's not gel but Williams gels with Elvis Costello when they duet
on Jailhouse Tears - the tale of a penitent penitentiary junkie
who burns the lover from whom he is seeking forgiveness - by stealing
veers dangerously close to a two stepper, preferred by denizens of Williams'
former long time hometown Austin.
Lucinda has the last word - "now I'm behind the eight ball and you're
It's not George and Tammy but it's close.
"I wrote all the lyrics," Williams, now 56, revealed in a recent
"He just sang them the way I'd already written them. It was great;
he's a sweetheart.
We've known each other few years now. I sang on one of his songs on a
record he'd done few years ago, Delivery Man. He's always been
a big fan and really supportive, and he's a great artist. He just continues
to grow as he gets older, he's still out there doing it, he's still making
great records. I really admire artists like that-Elvis Costello, Neil
Young, Bruce Springsteen, who's a great inspiration too, and a friend
also. It's a real honour to have these guys kind of in my camp now you
know. Because they were whom I was listening to when I was learning how
TEAR DUCTS IN A ROW
and restless I paid the cost/ I've been a mess, misguided and lost."
- Tears of Joy - Lucinda Williams
gets all her ducts in a row when she exudes positive passion in bluesy
Tears Of Joy, beatific ballad Knowing and world weary adulation
for artists who don't sell out in Rarity.
It wasn't a Canadian pre tour promo in the former song when she sang "Your
voice's a cello, your words speak volumes/ in and out, around flow, like
Williams identifies with may unsung heroines and others neglected by the
mainstream - especially the fellow traveller who inspired Rarity.
"I was actually really inspired by this artist named Mia Doi Todd,"
"She's just a really, really brilliant songwriter kind of more in
the underground folk pop thing I guess. She goes out and tours and stuff.
I guess there was a situation that inspired the song, but of course all
my songs are bigger than one person. But there might be a person or an
event that plants the seed for the song, but then the song becomes bigger
than that. But what had happened was, a friend of turned me on to her,
a record she put out on a little indie label, and this was when I was
still living in Nashville, before I moved back to Los Angeles about six
years ago. And I really was just struck by her lyrics. Her voice was soft
and moody sounding, and her melodies were great, but her lyrics really
I'd never heard of her before. Then I was in a record store in L.A. and
saw that she had a record out on a subsidiary of universal, I think it
was on Hippo, maybe. But obviously she had some major label distribution,
and I went, yay, finally. She's got a chance to sell some records and
get better known and things. Next record is out on an unknown little indie
label, so that's what spurred the idea for the song. Because I had seen
that so often, and I'd been through that myself, to some degree, and seen
it happen with a lot of really good artists: where if they don't sell
enough records, they don't really get a chance. It's the same old story
that you've heard a million times. So that's basically what planted the
idea for the song."
draw the link between Todd and two Canadian predecessors who enjoyed the
luxury of perfect timing.
'We finally got to meet, she lives in L.A., and she had came in, and I
recorded a song that was going to go on West, but we had so many
songs that we couldn't put them all on the record. We sort of ran out
of time, budget, money, time to record all the songs. But I had a demo
of it, she came in and heard the demo, and she was really touched.
I don't get as chance to see her play very often, but she's just one of
those unusually brilliant songwriters who probably if she had a chance
to do something back in the, if she'd been around back in the day when
people like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell writers like that were coming
out, she would have probably stood a better chance in getting recognition.
She definitely has a cult following, that's for sure. That's kind of the
only way you can do it now anymore, if you're just starting out. You have
to build your own thing like that. I mean, I'm lucky, 'cause I just barely
got in by the skin of my teeth. But if I was just starting out now, I'd
have a hard time. I'm lucky I got as far as I did! Just before the door
slammed on me, before the industry kind of went to hell and a hand basket."
TAKES OUT THE TRASH
you ever know happiness, little rock star/ or is your death wish stronger
than you are/ will you go up in flames like the torches that are carried
for you." - Little Rock Star - Lucinda Williams.
there's still vitriol vast for a stark contrast - a fly by night faker
in Little Rock Star and loser in 1991 tune Well, Well, Well
dismissed in one line - "if you hang around trash you can't
come out clean."
Williams charted the latter song's history.
"And then Well Well Well was actually on a demo I had
done when I was getting ready to do Sweet Old World,"
"It goes back to '91. I don't throw anything away; I keep everything.
So when I'm writing, I can go back and look at stuff that I did a
long time ago.
The singer exploits regret in If Wishes Were Horses - not the
Gretchen Peters song - and reflects on that country staple, cheating,
in Circles And X's, both written in 1985.
funny, a couple of the songs I wrote a long time ago, like If Wishes
Were Horses and Like Circles for X's" Williams revealed
in a recent interview.
"Well, I had 'em mostly written - Circles and X's I never
quite finished, but I started it, believe it or not, 20 years ago. If
Wishes Were Horses I wrote about 20 years ago also, but never really
did anything with it
TO MARRY - NOT AC-DC
leaders can't be trusted/ heroes have let us down/ and innocence lies
rusted/ and frozen beneath the ground." - Plan To Marry - Lucinda
And as a
bonus there's social comment in Plan To Marry as love triumphs
over big business fuelled war.
There has to be a down side - well maybe, adding royalties to AC-DC coffers
in the finale a refry of It's A Long Way To The Top.
That should have been left to the MCG mixers as a finals sound grab.
Williams credits Overby with sourcing the heavy metal anthem that has
also been given recent gallops as a bluegrass romper.
"It's not that I wasn't a fan, I didn't have any of their records,"
Williams explained. "They weren't really on my turntable on a regular
basis. I was more into Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and Neil Young, and all the
'60s rock bands, like Cream and The Doors. It's funny, now that I've gotten
older, I'm actually able to go back and appreciate more hard rock. Now
I've gone back and listened to some of those bands. There's so much music,
you can't take in every single thing.
I mean, I heard them on the radio, of course, and I always admired the
guitar player and stuff, but it wasn't the kind of music that I listened
to on a regular basis, cause I was just into different styles of stuff."
Williams has long stuck to her guns by cutting mainly original material.
"I very rarely do any covers," Williams added.
"And if I do one, it's usually one nobody's ever heard before, like
a Little Son Jackson song, something like that. I did a Nick Drake song
with Tom a long time ago. And then on Car Wheels I did a Randy Weeks song
that nobody had heard because it'd never been recorded anywhere, Can't
Let Go. He was in this band the Lonesome Strangers."
Williams proves on this album that honey sticks far better than lachrymose
love lava that sank previous discs without a trace - of humour.
Fellow L A singers Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs help refine the sugar
on Little Honey.
of her former drummers died in November.
Michael Bannister, who backed Lucinda and Doug Sahm, among others, died
on November 22 of an apparent suicide in Arizona.
He was 58.
A memorial show was held at the Cactus Café, Austin, with Peter
Case and Lucinda's former producer and guitarist Gurf Morlix.
Ironically, Lucinda's last Australian tour was cancelled when her mother
Lucille died @ 73 on March on Sunday March 7, 2003.
But after spending time with her family in Fayetteville, Arkansas, she
reluctantly quit the Australian leg of a world tour.
Ticket sales had kick-started demand for Williams' seventh album World
Without Tears that has been re-released in Australian with three bonus
Those tunes were an alternate version of Buick Blues, Hang Down Your
Head and Cold Cold Heart.
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