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Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Nite Retro


Welcome to Friday Nite Retro here at Left in Aboite! Tonight I'm featuring one of my favorite alt-country artists - Lucinda Williams.

Williams was born on January 26, 1953 in Lake Charles, Louisiana to poet and literature professor Miller Williams, an amateur pianist. The elder Williams worked as a visiting professor in Mexico and different parts of the American South, before settling at the University of Arkansas.

His daughter started writing when she was 6 years old, showed an affinity for music at an early age, and was playing guitar at 12. Her first live performance, at 17, was in Mexico City as part a duo with her banjo playing friend Clark Jones.

Lucinda Williams Profile


Williams recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980 - They featured a traditional country and blues style and received very little attention from radio,the media or the public. In 1988, she released her self-titled album, "Lucinda Williams", which contained the single "Passionate Kisses". That song was later recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter, garnering Lucinda her first Grammy (Best Country Song, 1994).

Passionate Kisses


The album also contained the single "Changed the Locks", about a broken relationship,which received radio play around the country and gained fans among music insiders, including Tom Petty, who would later cover the song.

Changed the Locks


The follow-up album, "Sweet Old World" was a melancholy album dealing with themes of suicide and death. But Williams' biggest success during the early 1990s was as a songwriter. Williams had garnered considerable critical acclaim, but her commercial success was moderate. Emmylou Harris said of Williams, "She is an example of the best of what country at least says it is. But, for some reason, she's completely out of the loop. And I feel strongly that that's country music's loss." Harris recorded the title track from Williams' "Sweet Old World" for her career-redefining 1995 album, "Wrecking Ball".

Sweet Old World


Williams also gained a reputation as a perfectionist and slow worker when it came to recording; six years would pass before her next album release, though she appeared as a guest on other artists' albums and contributed to several tribute compilations during this period. The long-awaited release, 1998's "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" was Williams' mainstream breakthrough,earning her a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road


Car Wheels also contained the single "Still I Long for Your Kiss" from the Robert Redford film "The Horse Whisperer".

Still I Long For Your Kiss


The single "Can't Let Go" also enjoyed considerable cross-over radio play.

Can't Let Go


My personal favorite from Car Wheels was "2 Kool 2 B 4-Gotten". This live version doesn't do it justice, however:

2 Cool 2 Be 4-Gotten


Williams followed up the success of Car Wheels with "Essence" in 2001. This release featured a less produced, more stripped-down approach both musically and lyrically, and moved Williams further from the country music establishment while winning fans in the alternative music world. The title track, which has a contribution on Hammond organ by alternative country musician Ryan Adams, was the song that introduced me to Lu.

Essence


She won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Performance for the single "Get Right With God", an atypically uptempo gospel-rock tune.

Get Right with God


Her seventh album, 2003's "World Without Tears", was a musically adventurous though lyrically downbeat album, that found Williams experimenting with talking blues stylings and electric blues. My favorite tune from that effort:

Righteously


Williams is still active today. Her latest album, titled "Little Honey", is due out on October 14, and will include 13 new songs. In July 2008, though Little Honey had yet to be released Paste magazine.com, listened to an advance copy and rated the duet between Williams and Elvis Costello on the song "Jailhouse Tears", as the #5 all time greatest country/rock duets.

Drop by Lu's official site and check out the rest of her work! Thanks for dropping by for tonight's FNR.


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3 Comments:

Blogger Mary Ellen said...

John- I'm sorry this is off topic, but I don't have your e-mail address and can't send it to you. I just returned from out of town on a family matter and found that I was the subject of a very nasty (to say the least) post written by Dan'l from The Future Was Yesterday. In the post, he quoted something that he said came from you or your blog. Could you please look at this and let me know if this quote is correct and if it came from you? I would appreciate it if you could let me know by e-mail at me414@divinedem.com

Thanks.

title="comment permalink">August 29, 2008 9:19 PM  
Blogger John Good said...

ME - I seriously doubt that you're sorry; I just read your other comment. I agree with you on one thing ,TFWY's post WAS nasty.

I haven't yet decided if it was warranted or not, however. . .attacking MY credentials as a "true Democrat" while you continue to openly bash Obama while talking up McCain on your site DOES lend at least SOME credence to matters.

Well. . .the jury may still be out, but I believe the prosecution rests. If EVER there was a time when Democrats needed to band together despite their differences, it is now! You're damned right that I question YOUR affilation.

title="comment permalink">August 29, 2008 11:32 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

John-

I was sorry I was off topic, not sorry that I was questioning your post. I see, so you can attack me in a post and then you whine about how I attacked your credentials as a true Democrat?

I could see, John, if you had a disagreement with what I write and you want to discuss the issues, or prove to me that what I write is wrong. I'm fine with that. But to write a post attacking me personally, that's low and only shows that you are either ignorant of the facts regarding Obama, or you just can't defend your candidate.

I'll address this on my blog, I thought I'd give you a chance to apologize for your low road tactics first. I guess that's the new Obama way, eh, John? You aren't doing your candidate any favors by your tactics, John.

title="comment permalink">August 30, 2008 3:01 AM  

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