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Lucinda Williams West Review

by Zane Ewton

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The music business is an odd little machine. Artists fall into certain roles and can sometimes never rise beyond the stock they were given. Someone like Lucinda Williams writes and performs simply stunning work that is always critically acclaimed. Yet it is all the pale copycats that sell tons of records.

While those numbers really only matter to accountants, it is frustrating to see deserving artists not given the widespread acknowledgement that comes with a full tilt marketing campaign. For those in the know, you will be splendidly pleased with the neWest release from Lucinda Williams.

West is another flawless addition to her catalogue. Williams is known as a perfectionist of the highest degree. It pays off when the results are as striking as this record.

The smooth country/rock sound underscores Williams' smoky voice. The musicianship is top notch with the likes of Rob Burger, Doug Pettibone, Bill Frisell, and Tony Garnier all playing multiple instruments along with several musicians adding wonderful highlights and shading to the songs.

Hal Willner was brought in to produce. He kept the scratch vocals Williams recorded for the demos, but brought in the musicians to take the music somewhere else. That the final vocals are also mostly from the demo work is an outstanding statement on Williams, her voice and her commitment to these songs from such an early stage.

Not a single song on West is one to be passed over. Each is a deep, lush, sometimes depressing, but always gorgeous movement through country, rock, pop and blues.

There is a benchmark for female singer/songwriters and Lucinda Williams resides a few inches above that. West is a prototype record for mixing classic with contemporary into something timeless and completely engaging.

You'll be waiting another 5 or 6 years for her next record. Chances are, it will be worth it.


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Lucinda Williams West

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