Review #426: Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams

Karla Clifton
2 min readAug 7, 2023

#426: Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams

Williams’ third record was reissued after the success of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, a record that contributed to my ever-softening stance on country music. Though this isn’t straight country, of course — maybe country-rock. RS says that this record “didn’t make sense” for 1988, but it isn’t hard for me to wrap my mind around: she’s a mix of Sheryl Crow and Tom Petty. In fact she would go on to tour with Petty! And Petty would cover her biting, chunky blues “Changed the Locks,” a song that could be frightened and traumatized (she’s so paranoid of her ex that she’s going to change the name of this town) but catches defiant in Williams’ throat.

Williams walks in two worlds, sometimes with a bit of whiplash. She alternates between breakup songs (“Abandoned,” “Big Red Sun Blues”) love songs (“Like a Rose,” “Am I Too Blue”) and self-love anthems (“Side of the Road”). At times she even reminded me of Shania, peppy and naughty and ahead of her time. See “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad” and “Passionate Kisses.”

Other times she becomes a bluesy, Howlin’ Wolf covering badass (“I Asked for Water (He Gave Me Gasoline)”) in which she shreds her voice to pieces. “Price to Pay” is heavy and throaty and beats like a heart, and the sweet “Crescent City” shows off her strong Cajun roots. Playing all sides of the country-rock coin, Lucinda Williams shows off her confident songwriting and swagger, saying herself, Everything we have is fresh and new.

Fun Fact: I liked “The Night’s Too Long,” a song about picking up guys at a bar, because she did meet and marry a man she met at an LA club.

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