50 notes in 2010: lu rocks roseland, 50 best voices
August 24, 2010, 3:52 am
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 notes for 2010

lucinda williams, musician. born: lake charles, louisiana (1953)

pictomat started late with ms. williams. bought “car wheels on a gravel road” and it took until the the third buy to fall in with the faithful and see the light: she is the best country/rock artist since … gram parsons. now, that is a compliment.

pictomat does not want to leave out other important female country singers. there is emilylou harris, but emilylou doesn’t write and usually sounds at her best singing harmony (particularly for the late gram). then there is dolly parton, who can both write and sing, but her career is so rocky and tips so frequently into camp. that leaves our other favorite voice, tammy wynette. yet she couldn’t write and was at the mercy of her excellent and usual producer billy sherrill.

what lucinda has is something touching, tough, and deeply personal. she played to a packed crowd at the roseland on sunday. new songs, not many standard hits, and yet she held the crowd rapt with her strong but crackin’ voice. she is so sweet and self-effacing that some of the lyrics come as a surprise. she may fall in with bad boys, but she is gonna let them know where they both stand!

at the showbox in seattle, a little under two years ago, she did a similar set with more of her usual tunes. her band rocks but lucinda hangs back. she rarely moves off of her oriental carpet, hangs on to her hand tooled metal guitar, or the microphone for what we once thought was dear life. but, we were wrong. she has a small but powerful field of gravity and doesn’t move far from the red suns she sings so much about. she is married now, and confessed to still having a few “bad boy” tunes left in her. her marriage seems to have centered her without taking away the cold heat of her jagged vocal cords. she sang “righteously”. that song seems to show what she is all about. a woman who will take chances, but not be taken advantage of.

“you don’t have to prove
your manhood to me constantly
i know you’re the man can’t you see
i love you righteously

why you wanna dis me
after the way you been kissin’ me
after those pretty things you say
and the love we made today

think this through
i laid it down for you everytime
respect me i give you what’s mine
you’re entirely way too fine

flirt with me don’t keep hurtin’ me
don’t cause me pain
be my lover don’t play no game
just play me john coltrane …”

hometown boy m. ward came out for an encore for a duet with lu on “lonesome me”. she had the house in the palm of  her hand and thanked us. we should be thanking her. she really is that good. emmylou said lu is the most under appreciated artist. unloved by nashville, and not thought of as a rocker in hollywood. ms. harris is right and she is both, but remember, she doesn’t use autotune, because she is a real singer with an honest voice. it is so hard to see how people talk up lady gaga, and leave the real pearls in the dust. you can keep your manufactured stars, we will keep real musicians any day!


2 Comments so far
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well.. got to see lu and chrissie hynde last nite in lovely humphreys by the bay here in san diego. weird crowd.. but still the magic never let up.. start with chrissie and her hunky australian boy toy jt and the fairgrounds.. they were csn recreated..(crosby stills nash..) sweet rhythms and some sticky love schisms.. damn chrissie is sooo obviously in love.. later in lu’s encore they did a three way number called your sweet side.. mesmerizing.. lu lonely and fierce on right in time, trembling and true thru greenville, lost in jackson, the steller buzz in honey bee, the shattering unsuffer me, and the rocking sultry C’mon.. she’s haunting.. and simply not meant for everyone.. she joked that the front row had departed.. well they missed some of the sweetest verbage ever sang.. zephyred and cosmically centered.. my first time seeing lu. and since listening for 10 yrs. i’m solidly hooked

Comment by hank ivey

i love lucinda williams. i’m sorry to say that i haven’t seen her live. she is full of soul and angst and sorrow and joy and you can hear every minute of it in her voice. under appreciated is all too true.

Comment by e

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