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Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels

We review Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams – Photo: LTTL

By Rob Dickens

Lucinda Williams

Good Souls Better Angels

Highway 20/Thirty Tigers

24 April 2020

It has been a longer gap between releases for Lucinda Williams. If you exclude her 2017 re-imagining of 1992’s Sweet Old World, it has been four years since her previous original collection The Ghosts of Highway 20.

Williams spent last year touring with the centrepiece being the twentieth anniversary of her classic Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (1998). For the new outing, she took her now long-standing crack band into a Nashville studio and re-united with Ray Kennedy who was producer and engineer of that earlier seminal collection.

What has come out of this collaboration is a dark, gritty and gripping commentary on current life. Taking some selected words from the song titles gives a portent – ‘bad news’, ‘without a soul’, ‘black’, ‘devil’, ‘doubts’, ‘dark’, ‘contention’, ‘down’.

Lucinda Williams – Photo: LTTL

Williams’s voice ranges from a tender quivering to the angriest growl that she has ever recorded in a forty-year storied career. The dirty and distorted blues arrangements are powerful and exciting. Recording live in Kennedy’s vintage-equipped studio, Williams and her band (guitarist Stuart Mathis, bassist David Sutton and drummer Butch Norton) cut most of the songs in two or three takes. Mathis’s guitar work in particular is pivotal, used to wrenching effect on “Bone Of Contention”.

The hard-rocking “Man Without A Soul”, the creeping and stealthy “Pray The Devil” and the fiery and rhythmic “Down Past The Bottom” (see clip below) are other highlights. But there’s gentleness and balance as well – “Big Black Train”, “When The Way Gets Dark” and “Good Souls” are moving.

Good Souls Better Angels is a timely return – a galvanizing and passionate call to arms.

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We review Lucinda Williams

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Author: Rob Dickens

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6 Comments

  1. Great Lucinda review

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    • Thanks Rob! It’s a powerful commentary

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  2. You got it Rob. A fantastic release from start to finish.

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    • Thanks Red! I love its rawness. Stay safe.

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    • Hi Neil – Yes, you are spot on!

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