Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Musical Elective of the Week

The Musical Elective of the Week is Lucinda Williams.

Lucinda Williams, 55, a Louisiana native, is a little bit country, a little bit folk, a little bit rock 'n' roll ... and then some. She is a premier songwriting talent and brings more musicianship to the stage and the recording studio in her right hand then many artists bring in their entire beings. She has won three Grammy awards in the course of her career and earned 7 more nominations.

Lucinda has been recording for 30 years. She released a couple of traditional country albums in 1979 (Ramblin') and 1980 (Happy Woman Blues), but it was her self-titled album (Lucinda Williams) in 1988 that began to earn her some notice. It included the single "Passionate Kisses" (which earned Lucinda a songwriting Grammy in 1994 for her song performed by Mary Chapin-Carpenter).

1998's Car Wheels On A Gravel Road is the album that brought Lucinda into the mainstream. It included the singles "Can't Let Go" and "Still I Long For Your Kiss" as well as the title track, "Right In Time," "Joy," "Concrete and Barbed Wire" and an ode to her hometown "Lake Charles." Car Wheels includes guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris. It received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and is listed (#304) among Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Lucinda's other albums include: Sweet Old World (1992), Essence (2001), World Without Tears (2003), Live @ The Fillmore (2005) and West (2007). Lucinda Williams plans to release the 8th studio album of her career on September 16, 2008. It will be entitled Little Honey.

Quite admittedly, Sara turned me onto Lucinda's catalog back 5 years ago. My prior experience with her music was largely hearing tracks off of her Car Wheels album on an album-friendly radio station -- WNCS/The Point in Vermont. Not a bad way to spend the car ride from Burlington to Montpelier and back.

I've seen this award-winning talent in concert twice over the last several years and she rocks! I count both those shows -- at Milwaukee's Summerfest and at Madison's Barrymore Theatre -- among the best live shows I've ever seen (right up there with just about any Crowded House concert (especially during the Paul Hester years) and Midnight Oil's last 9:30 Club show in Washington, DC).

Lucinda seems to tour constantly. 2008 is no exception. She's currently completing a tour in support of John Mellencamp, and she's playing up and down the West Coast in August and September. Check out her tour schedule.

If you want to learn more about Lucinda Williams, please visit her web site.
Flirt with me don't keep hurtin' me
Don't cause me pain

Be my lover don't play no game

Just play me John Coltraine
--"Righteously," from World Without Tears (2003)


Extra Credit--Past Musical Electives of the Week:
Great Big Sea
Griffin House
Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer
Neil Finn
Ray LaMontagne
Stuart Stotts
Dan Wilson
Kathleen Edwards

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