LUCINDA WILLIAMS - DOWN WHERE THE SPIRIT MEETS THE BONE

LUCINDA WILLIAMS - DOWN WHERE THE SPIRIT MEETS THE BONE

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PRODUCT

'Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone', the first release on Lucinda Williams' own independent record label Highway 20, is easily the most ambitious creation in a body of work that's long on ambition. Over the course of two discs, Williams leaves no emotional crevice left unexplored, drinking deeply from a well of inspiration that culminates with an offering that overflows with delta-infused country soul.

Three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams has been maneuvering down a path all her own for more than three decades now, emerging from Lake Charles, Louisiana (a town with a rich tradition in all of America's indigenous music, from country to the blues) having been imbued with a "culturally rich, economically poor" worldview. Several years of playing the hardscrabble clubs of her adopted state of Texas gave her a solid enough footing to record a self-titled album that would become a touchstone for the embryonic Americana movement Ì_Ì_́‰ÛÓ̤Ì_ÌÇÌ_•À_Ì_ÌÇÌ_å« helping launch a thousand musical ships along the way.

'Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone', is peppered with names that will be familiar to most rock and roll aficionados. This includes longtime Elvis Costello collaborators Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher, guitarist Bill Frisell, iconic Faces keyboardist Ian McLagen, guitarist Stuart Mathis from the Wallflowers, vocals from Jakob Dylan and the distinctive guitar tones of Tony Joe White. Her longtime rhythm section of David Sutton and Butch Norton provides a rock solid foundation on a passel of the tunes, and Leisz - who she credits as "the glue that holds the whole thing together" - adds ornamentation in all the right places. Lucinda Williams pushes herself as a vocalist as well, making the most of her instrument's honeyed warmth and its sandpaper-to-the-soul toughness. She un-tethers herself more fully than she has in ages, or possibly ever.

The album's opening track, "Compassion", was originally a poem by her father, the poet Miller Williams, in which she wrote the music and additional lyrics. This marks the first time Williams has composed music for one of her father's poems, and it is from that song that the album title was taken. Williams wrings every drop of affirmation from uplifting tracks like the empowering "Walk On" (a loping paean to life's most sustaining aspects, the fleeting and the permanent) and every whit of dark beauty from songs such as "This Old Heartache" (a stark reminder that churning psychic waters can lurk beneath a placid surface).

'Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone' was produced by Lucinda Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz (Billy Bragg, Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys).

1. Compassion
2. Protection
3. Burning Bridges
4. East Side Of Town
5. West Memphis
6. Cold Day In Hell
7. Foolishness
8. Wrong Number
9. Stand Right By Each Other
10. It's Gonna Rain
11. Something Wicked This Way Comes
12. Big Mess
13. When I Look At The World
14. Walk On
15. Temporary Nature (Of Any Precious Thing)
16. Everything But The Truth
17. This Old Heartache
18. Stowaway in Your Heart
19. One More Day
20. Magnolia