For those bemoaning the current state of country music, take solace in Lucinda Williams. For the last 25 years she has been writing literate, tightly-worded songs and performing them with fantastic bands. Her current backing band, Buick 6, also doubles as her opening act.
I saw Lucinda on Tuesday, March 16th, at City Winery, part of a multiple-night residency. The Winery is a wonderful place to hear music, with the intimacy of a club, great sound, and real seats!. It also features a menu of better-than-you’d expect food and an extensively wine list.
Lucinda performed a 20+ song set, ranging from solo acoustic songs to full band romps. Her voice is full of meaning and longing – no sings better about female desire than she does. The songs from her new albums, The Ghosts of Highway 20, stood up well to her older work. Unfortunately the posted set list I found is incomplete, and I didn’t take notes. Some highlights were “Are You Down” from Essence which led to a long jam which showed off Buick 6’s chops, the title track of the new album, and a rousing “Changed the Locks”.
Her encore was fascinating: Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home”, a twangy version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, and a kick-ass “Rockin’ In The Free World” which Neil Young would have been proud of.
The warm atmosphere of City Winery encouraged Lucinda to tell stories of how many of the songs came to be written. The love she gave which equalled by the love she received from the audience.
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