Song of the Day #4,329: ‘When the Ways Gets Dark’ – Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams is back with her first new material since 2016’s The Ghosts of Highway 20. I featured that album track-by-track on the blog, much to the consternation of some loyal readers.

Ghosts was a very meditative, delicate album, full of sad remembrances and long guitar solos. I think the Trump years have made an impact on Williams, because Good Souls, Better Angels is the opposite — loud, angry, confrontational.

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Song of the Day #4,187: ‘Are You Down’ – Lucinda Williams

This track, from Lucinda Williams’ 2001 album Essence, is a perfect example of that record’s spare, haunting loveliness.

Like many songs on the album, ‘Are You Down’ has few lyrics and a whole lot of atmosphere. The interplay of guitar and drums on this track has a distinct Dire Straits vibe, which is certainly a good thing in my book.

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Song of the Day #3,969: ‘Lonely Girls’ – Lucinda Williams

My list of favorite albums in recent years is so dominated by female artists that it’s a shock to look back at 2001 and see how bro-tastic my tastes were then.

Lucinda Williams’ Essence, my #6 album of that year, is the only work by a woman in my top ten.

Now, in my defense, I haven’t found a lot of strong female contenders among the albums I missed out on in 2001. Maybe it just wasn’t a strong year for women in music. But it is striking, especially coming off of a year when five of my top seven albums were by women.

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Song of the Day #3,431: ‘It’s Gonna Rain’ – Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams has released a dozen albums during her 38-year career, four in the first 18 years and eight in the last 20. She stepped up the pace after 1998’s Car Wheels On a Gravel Road (still her best album), releasing a record about once every other year.

My guess is that if 2014’s Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone had come after a lengthy hiatus, rather than during the relatively productive streak Williams was on at the time, it would have been received with more critical fanfare.

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Song of the Day #3,308: ‘American Tune (Live)’ – Paul Simon vs. Lucinda Williams

Our next Montauk Madness matchup pairs off a couple of celebrated veteran singer-songwriters, Paul Simon and Lucinda Williams.

Simon dispatched Elton John in Round One and had an even easier time knocking out Sting in Round Two, with 90% of the vote. Williams faced off against a couple of indie acts, topping Garbage in the first round and picking up 71% to defeat The Shins in Round Two. Continue reading