As much as I like Garbage, particularly their first three albums, this is another easy pick. Ideally, the first round should be easy, though peeking ahead I see a couple of hair-pullers on the horizon.
But she was very much on my radar a decade later, after I fell in love with Car Wheels On a Gravel Road and started gobbling up the rest of her catalog.
She got her start as a modest country-folk artist, kicking around New Orleans, Austin and Houston before testing the waters in New York and Los Angeles. Over 10 albums and 33 years, she has emerged as one of the most respected songwriters of her generation.
Williams waited four years before releasing her next album, 1992’s Sweet Old World. It’s similar in sound to her self-titled album, though it’s thematically much darker.
The album’s strongest stretch is a three-song span toward the middle, stating with the aching title track, directed at a friend lost to suicide (“See what you lost when you left this world, this sweet old world”). Two tracks later comes ‘Pineola,’ a southern rock jam, spiked with violin, chronicling that loss and the funeral that followed (“I saw his mama, she was standin’ there / His sister, she was there too / I saw them look at us standin’ around the grave / And not a soul they knew”).