I admit that until Mary Chapin Carpenter made “Passionate Kisses” a hit in 1992 I had barely heard of Lucinda Williams. I guess I wasn’t up really on my country/folk/blues or something – I’m not even sure how to classify her – but she’s a damn fine songwriter with a hell of a gravely voice. Maybe she’s spent too many nights playing music, smoking a pack or two (I imagine) and digging into her Southern soul between recordings.
A Louisiana native who just weeks ago turned 54, she has 9 albums to her credit starting with her first release, Ramblin’, way back in 1979 and leading up to her latest, West, being released tomorrow the 13th. The songs I have been able to sample on her myspace page (myspace.com/lucindawilliams) including the single “Are You Allright?” are true to her form. These are bluesy, folk, catchy, rock-like melodies that dive in and make you feel like it’s 100 degrees outside while you’re driving down a dusty country road in an old Chevy with the windows down and Jack Daniels between your legs. It’s sexy, it’s hot, and she’s the only voice you want to hear.
The thing I like most about her is that she’s hard to categorize. She suits every mood you are in on any given album. She talks about heartbreak as if it were happening THIS INSTANT while she’s singing. She talks about love as if it’s something she’s never known, though she recently got engaged. There are paradoxes that make sense and absolute truths that are spot on yet don’t always add up. Every listening brings something new and honest to the forefront. She plays her heart out and embodies Country BlueGrass and Blues…with rock thrown in for good measure – just to make sure you are on your toes and paying attention. And you should.
It was a cool week for me. Thanks to my friend from elementary school, Christian Knapp (myspace.com/christianfknapp), I got the bass player I have been dreaming about since the genesis of this EP. After searching and asking everyone I know in LA if they know of anyone who can play, the first question always being “how much can you pay?” as opposed to ‘what kind of music do you play?’, it took a hometown, East Coast friend to come through.
Dan Tribman showed up on my doorstep Saturday afternoon after a week of his ongoing firefighter training to work his magic - and he did it because he enjoys playing music (I can only hope he enjoys playing mine) not because I had cash in my hands. That is a true musician. You show up because you are happy to play your instrument and maybe learn a thing or two. You do it because you love music. He’s a great guy and he’s coming back on Thursday to finish up the other songs, hang out, jam, talk and put the final notes to the EP, now officially called NUMB. I’d like to dedicate this week’s offering to Christian and Dan - for their support, their ideas and for just being great musicians. While I don’t have a Rock n’ Roll Band I have these guys and that’s wicked COOL!!
Thanks for tuning in…Until next Monday….CHEERS!!!
PS: Congrats to the Dixie Chicks for their 5 Grammy’s!! You totally deserve the kudos and so does the Academy for recognizing you!!!