Lucinda Williams has a new album in stores today (Little Honey), so I’m celebrating the occasion by highlighting one of my all-time favorite songs — ‘Side of the Road’ from Williams’ classic self-titled album.
I discovered Williams 10 years ago, when Car Wheels on a Gravel Road was released to unanimous critical acclaim. I saw that album on every single year-end top ten list along with the tale of how it had taken her six years to record and release it because she was never quite happy enough to let it go.
I enjoyed it well enough after my first listen but something else must have come up because I set it aside and didn’t really think about it again for more than a year.
Then I stumbled upon a re-release of Lucinda Williams, her second album of original material. The liner notes said that more artists — particularly female artists — had been inspired by that album than probably any other in its genre. The biggest hit, ‘Passionate Kisses,’ went on to be an even bigger hit for Mary Chapin Carpenter, but for the most part Williams was destined to be one of those artists best known by critics and other musicians.
The album immediately captured me… every song is a winner. So I revisited Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and boy, I don’t know how it ever got past me the first time. That is without a doubt one of the ten best albums I own. And each of her other releases has been stellar. I can’t wait to see what Little Honey has in store.
‘Side of the Road’ is one of my favorite Lucinda Williams songs. It’s a simple tune about the need to get away, and I find it pretty much perfect.