Song of the Day #2,268: ‘Walk On’ – Lucinda Williams

lucinda_spirit_meets_boneIt took 20 years for Lucinda Williams to release her first four albums. Her most recent four have come at a much faster clip, averaging one every other year.

And while there is no contest in terms of quality — the first batch takes it by a mile — I’m glad to hear new material by one of America’s greatest singer-songwriters with some frequency.

Williams’ latest record, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, is a 20-track double album of country blues and soul songs. After a few listens, it doesn’t feel essential but it’s as solid and comforting as a favorite rocking chair.

The album this reminds me of the most is Lyle Lovett’s I Love Everybody. Coming on the heels of his best studio work, that record felt like the grab bag it is — a collection of odds and ends without real focus. But in hindsight, it’s one solid double after another, an admirable accomplishment even if it leaves you wishing for a home run.

Similarly, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone doesn’t have a weak song on it, but neither does it have a great one. Every track is pointed and pure and impeccably performed and produced but nothing lifts my spirit the way ‘Passionate Kisses,’ ‘Side of the Road’ or ‘Lake Charles’ do on her best albums.

That isn’t a knock on the record. Most artists in this space would kill for an album this strong. But it does keep it out of the conversation about Williams’ best work, and she’s ascended to a spot where everything she does must be measured against that standard.

Walk on
Come on girl, walk on
Walk on
Come on girl, walk on

You got the world in the palm of your hand
You gotta make ‘em understand
That you’re the lead singer in the band
So walk on
Come on girl, walk on

They don’t make em any sweeter than you
Anyone can tell that’s true
So you do what you gotta do
And walk on
Come on girl, walk on

I know you’re fighting an uphill battle
But you’ll win with a little struggle
Cause you’re really not that fragile
So walk on
Come on girl, walk on

I know you can be the best
You can run ahead of all the rest
Yeah, I know you can pass the test
So walk on
Come on girl, walk on

Life is full of heartbreak
But it’s never more than you can take
It’s nothing you can’t you can’t shake a stick at
So walk on
Come on girl, walk on

People gonna treat you unkind
But you don’t pay em any mind
And I am here to remind you
To walk on
Come on girl, walk on

Yeah, walk on
Come on girl, walk onCome on girl (x6)

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,268: ‘Walk On’ – Lucinda Williams

  1. Dana says:

    Your baseball analogy is a good one as, no matter how great a player is, there is simply no way to hit a home run at every bat or to have a stellar season every year. The elite players, however, will hit home runs more often than not and some keep swinging for the fences long after their prime, occassionally hitting one out of the park to remind us that they still got it.

    Such is the case with great artists like Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman and so on. I suspect Lucinda Williams will, if she continues to record, hit another home run at some point.

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