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Blessed [new from Lucinda Williams]

March 1st is not only day one of my favorite month (I’m in Arizona, so that means Spring Training games, a beer festival, and ideal weather), but it’s also release day for Blessed, the great new album from Lucinda Williams.

Lucinda’s 10th studio album has many folks likening it to a return to form of her stellar ’98 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. I’ve had a few runs through it, and – as always, it seems – I’ve gravitated to the more slow burning, wistful tracks. “I Don’t Know How You’re Living”, “Born to be Loved”, “Convince Me”…

But the true stunner of a tune that stops me in my tracks is the album finale: “Kiss Like Your Kiss”. This love’s done and gone, Jack, and nothing will ever be the same…

There’ll never be a spring so perfect again
We’ll never see a yellow so rich
The grass will never be quite as green
And there’ll never be a kiss like your kiss

That’s only the first verse. It’s a thing of beauty, and may be one of the best songs I’ve ever heard Lucinda sing (right there with “Blue” for me). This song alone is worth the price of admission.

A version of the song actually appears on an episode of True Blood, and includes Elvis Costello on vocals. You can find this version on True Blood: Music From The HBO® Original Series Volume 2

The Blessed version doesn’t include Costello’s co-vocals, and as much as I admire and respect Elvis, the song rises even higher without him. This is Lucinda’s moment, and Costello only dilutes the exquisiteness of it, in my opinion. Just wait till you hear the Blessed version, that’s all I gotta say.

Blessed is another strong collection from a tried and true original still at the top of her game. Top to bottom, it can’t top Car Wheels, but moments like “Kiss Like Your Kiss” elevate it to a level that’s damn close.

Published inAmericana

10 Comments

  1. I actually think that Essence is Lucinda’s best album, but this one may just top it. Fantastic.

    • I liked Essence, too, Ken. I thought it was a great statement right after Car Wheels: it was much more transparent and exposing. The album that shocked the hell out of me was World Without Tears. Where Essence exposed nerves, World Without Tears was unnerving. That was just raw and raging.

      Blessed is inching towards Car Wheels as my number 1 fave. There is a lot of energy on this album – enough to keep this from being just a rootsy americana fest. It has a good rock edge. Her singing is great, too.

      I was surprised as hell to see that Don Was produced this. He was on cruise control with the Stones all these years.

      • As much as I like Lucinda’s languid, poetic, swampy songs, the jagged rockers have always been favorites of mine. On Blessed, “Seeing Black,” the song she wrote for Vic Chesnutt, is already one of my favorite Lucinda songs. The opener, “Buttercup,” isn’t far behind either. Lucinda always manages to find the great guitarists, going back to her days with Gurf Morlix. Then there were guys like Kenny Vaughan, and J.J. Jackson. Now it’s Greg Leisz. I’m leaving a few good ones out, but she has a real knack for working with the best.

        • Same here – the rockers are fun and don’t feel strained. “Seeing Black” is GREAT and “Buttercup” is a biting musically as it is lyrically.

          I saw her in Sommerville, MA in 1998 (here is the great review http://goo.gl/LGV6Z – not mine). Jackson and Vaughn were on hand. I didn’t know of them then – Vaughan had me drooling on “Joy” – BLAZING guitar.

          • That was her best band. Those two guys were awesome together. I really like Kenny Vaughan. I’m not sure what he’s up to now, but I love the way he plays.

  2. I actually think that Essence is Lucinda’s best album, but this one may just top it. Fantastic.

    • I liked Essence, too, Ken. I thought it was a great statement right after Car Wheels: it was much more transparent and exposing. The album that shocked the hell out of me was World Without Tears. Where Essence exposed nerves, World Without Tears was unnerving. That was just raw and raging.

      Blessed is inching towards Car Wheels as my number 1 fave. There is a lot of energy on this album – enough to keep this from being just a rootsy americana fest. It has a good rock edge. Her singing is great, too.

      I was surprised as hell to see that Don Was produced this. He was on cruise control with the Stones all these years.

      • As much as I like Lucinda’s languid, poetic, swampy songs, the jagged rockers have always been favorites of mine. On Blessed, “Seeing Black,” the song she wrote for Vic Chesnutt, is already one of my favorite Lucinda songs. The opener, “Buttercup,” isn’t far behind either. Lucinda always manages to find the great guitarists, going back to her days with Gurf Morlix. Then there were guys like Kenny Vaughan, and J.J. Jackson. Now it’s Greg Leisz. I’m leaving a few good ones out, but she has a real knack for working with the best.

        • Same here – the rockers are fun and don’t feel strained. “Seeing Black” is GREAT and “Buttercup” is a biting musically as it is lyrically.

          I saw her in Sommerville, MA in 1998 (here is the great review http://goo.gl/LGV6Z – not mine). Jackson and Vaughn were on hand. I didn’t know of them then – Vaughan had me drooling on “Joy” – BLAZING guitar.

          • That was her best band. Those two guys were awesome together. I really like Kenny Vaughan. I’m not sure what he’s up to now, but I love the way he plays.

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