West CD (2007)

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NOT HER BEST BUT GOOD ENOUGH

by KLAWKAT on 9/25/2007

THIS IS NOT UP TO THE LEVEL OF CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD SINCE TOO MANY OF THE CD SONGS SOUND THE SAME, BUT AVERAGE LUCINDA IS BETTER THAN MOST OTHER ARTISTS' "BEST" SO I'LL STILL RECOMMEND IT. Read More

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Product Overview

It's long been said that the blues -- in all its forms -- is one of the most potent means to transform pain into beauty. Lucinda Williams has known that since she began devouring music as a youngster growing up in Louisiana, and she's been finding new ways to perform that alchemical reaction ever since.

With West, a disc that may well be Williams' most personal work to date, the singer-songwriter channels both her emotion and restive creative energy into a startling set of songs that touch on both darkness and redemption. At turns strikingly spare and compellingly muscular, the album's 13 cuts attest to her willingness to stretch as a musician -- and to put herself on the line as a chronicler of life.

There's no disputing the sense of struggle that imbues songs like "Fancy Funeral" -- a ballad with a gentle lilt that can't mask the disillusionment of a narrator trying to make a case for the meaninglessness of such an affair. Nor can one miss the ache in "Mama You Sweet," a raw-but-right rumination on what remains after the loss of a loved one.

On the other hand, West is rife with songs that serve to enliven and affirm, albeit in decidedly non-Hallmark fashion. The fiery "Come On" -- a kiss-off tune in the mode of Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" -- uses a stinging guitar hook to grab the listener by the lapels, all the better for Williams to deliver a knockout blow with a flurry of acerbic, double-entendre lyrics. There's a similarly edgy vibe at play in "Wrap My Head Around That," which stalks stealthily for nine minutes of hypnotic rhythm -- goosed along by Bill Frisell's serpentine guitar -- that matches Williams' sharp wordplay at every turn.

The envelope-pushing sonics on those songs can be attributed to Williams' recent listening patterns -- an eclectic list that includes Thievery Corporation and M.I.A in addition to The Black Keys and White Stripes -- as well as the collaborative relationship she developed with the album's co-producer, Hal Willner.

Specifications

Label Universal Music Group
SKU 203971008
UPC 602498583487
UPC 14 00602498583487
Format CD
Release Date 2/13/2007
Links
Author Lucinda Williams
Compilation Appearance I Feel Alright
Compilation Appearance Tribute To Howlin' Wolf
Compilation Appearance In Spite Of Ourselves
Compilation Appearance Best Of Broadside 1962-88
Compilation Appearance Timeless-Hank Williams Tribute
Compilation Appearance The L Word
Compilation Appearance Outlaws And Angels
Compilation Appearance Within A Mile Of Home
Compilation Appearance Rogue Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys
Compilation Appearance Goin Home:tribute To Fats Domingo
Compilation Appearance House
Compilation Appearance Avalon Blues
Compilation Appearance Imus Ranch Record
Compilation Appearance Poet:tribute To Townes Van Zandt
Compilation Appearance Lost Highway
Compilation Appearance Crazy Heart Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition)
Compilation Appearance Sensory Overdrive
Compilation Appearance Sensory Overdrive
Compilation Appearance Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams
Compilation Appearance Chimes Of Freedom:songs Of Bob Dylan
Compilation Appearance Kin:songs By Mary Karr Rodney Crowe
Compilation Appearance We Walk the Line-Celebration of Johnny Cash
Compilation Appearance West Of Memphis:voices/justice (Ost)
Compilation Appearance Love For Levon
Compilation Appearance Music Is You:tribute To John Denver
Compilation Appearance Woody Guthrie At 100 Live At The Kenn
Compilation Appearance Lone Ranger: Wanted
Compilation Appearance Songs For Slim:rockin Here Tonight Be
Compilation Appearance Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne
Compilation Appearance Wild (ost)
Compilation Appearance Tulare Dust:tribute To Merle Haggard
Compilation Appearance Bottom Line Archive:in Their Own/v1
Compilation Appearance Classic Blues Vol.2
Compilation Appearance Crossing Jordan (ost)
Technical Info
Engineer Vanessa Parr; Jason Wormer; Eric Liljestrand; Matt Brown; Michael Dumas
Producer Lucinda Williams; Hal Willner; Lucinda Williams; Hal Willner
CatalogID 9858348
Lable Name Lost Highway
Released 02/13/2007
Original Release 2007
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Length 68m : 38s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00602498583487
Musical Guests
Bill Frisell
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel: Lucinda Williams (vocals, acoustic guitar); Lucinda Williams; Bill Frisell (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Robert Brophy (viola); Rob Burger (accordion, piano, prepared piano, electric piano, Wurlitzer piano, organ, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ); Hal Willner (sampler, turntables); Gary Louris , Gia Ciambotti (background vocals); Doug Pettibone (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar); Jenny Scheinman (violin); Timothy Loo (cello); Tony Garnier (double bass, electric bass); Jim Keltner (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Eric Liljestrand.
Recording information: The Village, West Los Angeles, CA.
Author: Miller Williams.
Photographers: Margaret Malandruccolo; Alan Messer.
Like Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, and Kurt Cobain, among others, Lucinda Williams is an artist with that certain difficult-to-define quality, the ability to channel the collective soul through a voice that is intimate, personal, and entirely her own. WEST, Williams's 2007 release, bears all the hallmarks of her best work: excellent songcraft, poetically tough lyrics, and her angel-on-morphine voice. As an album, it is her most consistent and appealing since 1998's CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD.
Williams's seemingly odd choice to work with mainstream pop producer Hal Willner works wonderfully. Willner built the album up from Williams's demo recordings, keeping her original vocals, and creating a sound that shimmers but never loses sight of the music's tough rootsiness. Yet it's Williams's searingly honest songwriting and achingly beautiful performances that make WEST so brilliant. Whether it's gutbucket blues ("Wrap My Head Around That"), bittersweet lilt ("Learning How To Live"), or harrowing confessionals ("Unsuffer Me"), Williams knows how to scrape the bottom of the human heart and put it into song. The result is one of the finest albums in her already sterling discography.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.74) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The opener, 'Are You All right?' is one of her greatest songs ever, and exemplifies how powerful the new method can be....Williams remains a premier artist."
Rolling Stone (p.110) - Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "[T[he sound of one of rock's great songwriters getting her demons out, and still challenging her fans."
Spin (p.89) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Producer Hal Willner weaves organ and violins through stunning vignettes like 'Rescue'..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "Rock's best female singer easily veers from city-slicker-smooth alto sweetness to ravaged Louisianan drawl." -- Grade: A
Q (p.116) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Her musical backdrop is as sparse and dry as a desert highway, zeroing your focus in on that smoky, bruised voice and her lyrics, as tremendous as ever."
Uncut (p.72) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Williams give rich voice to the complexities of middle-aged femininity....She's a great singer, with a searingly bluesy edge to her voice."
CMJ (p.42) - "[T]he lyrics are uniformly poignant and poetic. The songs about misguided love are perhaps the most compelling."
Q (Magazine) (p.73) - Ranked #45 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "Here, loss, lust and longing combine in a dark, confessional world that resigns her peers to blithe imitation."
Artist Bio
Lucinda WilliamsLucinda Williams has been bringing those elements together since the onset of her career, which was launched back in the early ?80s with a pair of acclaimed albums for Smithsonian/Folkways. She honed the spartan approach established on those discs on a self-titled 1988 collection that brought her to wider attention -- with listeners as well as with fellow performers like Mary Chapin Carpenter, who had a hit (and helped Lucinda win a Grammy) with the disc?s ?Passionate Kisses.?Having decided that she?d been doing ?the singer-songwriter thing by default,? Williams took off in something of a new direction during the ?90s, issuing the slow-burning Sweet Old World -- a disc that, as much as any release, helped place the Americana movement at the forefront of listeners? minds -- and cementing her own spot in the cultural lexicon with 1998?s rough-hewn masterpiece Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.That disc earned Williams a Grammy as a performer, and -- true to form -- inspired her to shift gears again for Essence (2001), a sensual, burnished offering that prompted Time magazine to dub her ?America?s Best Songwriter,? a title she upheld righteously two years later in 2003 with World Without Tears.In recent times, Williams has broadened her palette even further through frequent collaborations with kindred spirits -- acts as varied as The North Mississippi All-Stars and Flogging Molly -- who share her uncommon sense of non-revivalist traditionalism. That combination of rootsiness and restlessness runs through West like a raging rapid, cutting out craggy soundscapes that beckon listeners inexorably -- as on ?Unsuffer Me,? perhaps the album?s most overtly bluesy offering.That quest is at the center of each of West?s songs -- and Williams? unflagging ability to embark upon it openheartedly from so many directions lends an unambiguously timeless feel to the disc, a sense that it can be appreciated in a bucolic meadow, a darkened room or a raucous roadhouse.
Disc 1
1 Are You Alright?
2 Mama You Sweet
3 Learning How To Live
4 Fancy Funeral
5 Unsuffer Me
6 Everything Has Changed
7 Come On
8 Where Is My Love?
9 Rescue
10 What If
11 Wrap My Head Around That
12 Words
13 West
Product Attributes
Artist Williams,Lucinda
Label Universal Music Group
Music Format Compact Disc

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NOT HER BEST BUT GOOD ENOUGH by KLAWKAT on Sep 25, 2007

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