© 2019 by Lucinda Williams. 

DISCOGRAPHY

This Sweet Old World

In a rare instance of an artist taking a full-length reconsideration of an earlier work, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams released This Sweet Old World – a complete re-recording of her 1992 album Sweet Old World – via Highway 20/Thirty Tigers on Sept. 29.

Produced by Williams and Tom Overby, This Sweet Old World - recorded to mark the 25th anniversary of the original album’s release by Chameleon/Elektra - features all-new renditions of the ’92 set’s 12 songs, some of which have been dramatically rearranged and rewritten.

On This Sweet Old World, Williams is supported by her touring and studio band: guitarist Stuart Mathis, bassist David Sutton, and drummer Butch Norton. Longtime collaborator Greg Leisz – who participated in early sessions for the 1992 album, and co-produced Williams’ most recent studio releases, The Ghosts of Highway 20 (2016) and Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (2014) – contributes spectacular guitar work.

The release is augmented by four newly recorded bonus tracks that harken back to Williams’ early performing career.

The Ghosts of Highway 20

Calling her own shots seems to agree with Lucinda Williams. While the singer/songwriter has long had a reputation for taking her time between albums, she's back with another double-disc set, The Ghosts of Highway 20, just a year-and-a-half later. She launched her own label with Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone in the fall of 2014. In many ways, The Ghosts of Highway 20 feels like a companion piece to Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone in its emotionally direct approach and willingness to let the songs play themselves out at their own pace. -- they drift with the current, but they don't meander, and they get where they're going in their own sweet time. Most of the performances on Highway 20 are anchored by the guitar interplay of Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz (the latter also co-produced the album with Williams and Tom Overby), and while their performances seem low on flash, especially given the estimable talents of these players, they have a faultless instinct for the moods and rhythms of these songs, and this is an album where nuance truly takes center stage. However, while Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone was an album that covered a wide variety of themes, the 14 songs on The Ghosts of Highway 20 all seem to turn on some sort of struggle -- against depression ("Dust"), against the limitations of our lives on Earth ("Doors of Heaven"), against the past ("Bitter Memory" and the title song), and against betrayal ("I Know All About It"). Even as Williams calls up nostalgic images of life in Louisiana ("Louisiana Story"), she's still trying to free herself from memories of hurts inflicted by her loved ones, and her appeals to the Lord for guidance and peace ("If There's a Heaven" and "Faith & Grace") sound and feel sincere, as if the shackles of her physical being are just too much for her. Williams' vocal performances here represent a remarkable high-wire act, as she brings her emotions to the surface without resorting to histrionics. Her musical adaptation of Woody Guthrie's "House of Earth," a curiously erotic dialogue between a whore and a customer, is all the more striking for its refusal to play broad. After releasing one of the best and boldest albums of her career with Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Williams goes from strength to strength with The Ghosts of Highway 20, and it seems like a welcome surprise that she's moving into one of the most fruitful periods of her recording career as she approaches her fourth decade as a musician.

- AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone

Roots-music legend, and three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams released her first-ever double album “Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone” on September 30 though her very own Highway 20 Records

“Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone” is said to be ” Williams’ most ambitious and adventurous projects to date.” It features 20 new songs, with 18 written by Williams. 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.

From the press release “This is a personal milestone for Williams as it marks the first time she has composed music for one of her father’s poems, and it is from that song that the album title was taken. ”

The album also features a cover os JJ Cale’s “Magnolia.”

“Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone” features performances by guitarists Bill Frisell and Tony Joe White, Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, Elvis Costello’s rhythm section of Pete Thomas (drums) and Davey Faragaher (bass) and Wallflowers guitarist Stuart Mathis. Jakob Dylan adds harmony vocals on “It’s Gonna Rain.” Williams’ longtime rhythm section of Butch Norton (drums) and David Sutton (bass) make also contribute. D”Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone” was produced by Williams, Tom Overby and Greg Leisz.

Of the Album Williams says ” “I didn’t set out to do a whole album of country-soul, but once I started working, a stylistic thread kind of emerged,” she says. “It’s a sound I can relate to, one that’s really immediate and really timeless at the same time — kind of sad in an indefinable way. It’s like something my dad said to me many years ago, something I wrote down and included in my song “Temporary Nature (Of Any Precious Thing)” because it was so profound to me — ‘the saddest joys are the richest ones.’ I think that fits this album really well.”

- All Eyes Media

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