Friday, May 30, 2003

The appeal of Lucinda Williams has traditionally evaded me. Yeah, she's talented, I've generally thought, but her music - songs and production - never struck me. Until now, until her new World Without Tears. All three tracks I've heard thus far are absolutely great, all raggedy-ass vocals, high plains slide guitar and Bonnie Raitt-ish leads, shambling rhythm sections, and truly superb lyrics. Not to mention the song "Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings," which has the title to beat so far in '03 (and should become the immediate anthem for every up-and-coming band playing the bars and dives). "Righteously" is a beat-up-and-bruised love song, an oddly perfect late-night companion for Jeff Buckley, the tart to his sweet. And just listen to the genuine twang in Williams' voice! "Sweet Side" is all about the lyrical twists - "you don't always show your sweet side" becomes "I've seen your sweet side" by song's end. Was I just being bundt cake-dense before, or has Lucinda's art advanced like crazy? Golly.

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