When we think about songwriting heroes, a very few women come to mind. That pantheon, unfortunately, is mostly populated by gods. Of course, all this speaks to how hard it was to have grown up in the unequal 50’s, when one’s horizon was limited by anatomy. One had to be laser focused and have a bit of luck to avoid the destiny that was most women’s “place.”.
Lucinda Williams grew as an interloper in the garden, wild and exotic, seeking her own light and being true to her art over the four decades she has been recording. Her path has garnered Grammy Awards for the iconic Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, and for two songs, “Passionate Kisses”, and “Get Right With God”. Her restlessness continues with this latest release, Good Souls Better Angels, which is more of an expose on the world today than much of her more introspective work. Good Souls is political and social commentary set to music with “You Can’t Rule Me”, “Man Without a Soul” and “Bad News Blues” leading the way.
Most of the songs are credited to Lucinda and husband Tom Overby, who co-produced the album along with Lucinda and Ray Kennedy. The last song “Good Souls”, is wistful and prayer-like, yearning for better days. Williams has earned an army of loyal fans all over the world while carving out a space that is singularly hers. This is an important, even urgent, addition to her catalog.
Watch this acoustic performance of "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" from a WMOT studio session recorded at Colin Linden's home in April 2019
- Jessie Scott
Jessie Scott is WMOT's program director, host of weekday afternoons and WMOT's Wired In series.