JD agree with you about "gravel road" and "lucinda williams"
being great CDs, haven't got a chance to hear "essence"
More ways to spend money, did you notice "gravel road" has
HDCD remaster in 1998, have you compared this remaster to
previous CD? I am amazed at the flood of remasters in the last couple years, most are quite good.
I can shorten my opinion....it is a fantstic disc. I have also seen her in concert and she shines live as well. I have three of her discs and maybe because it is new .."Essence" is my favorite. Also take note that she is now recording with some very good musicians: Charlie Sexton on guitar and Jim Keltner on drums, Jim Lauderdale on backing vocals just to name a few. Great music by a great artist.
No I have not heard the remaster of Car Wheels, maybe someone could give us there thought if they heard it.
Excellent Review J.D.
I picked this up last week and I too really enjoy this disc.
Although it is comprised of many more slower numbers - the tunes are evoking in their intricate and sparse arrangements. Her lyrics here are moving and capture the "essence" of a searching and street worn soul. THis album reminds me of Gram Parson's in a female personna... that's a good thing
excellent disc and great review, thanks
Excellent review. Have her on CD from "Happy Woman Blues", "Ramblin'", "Lucinda Willaims", cd and vinyl, plus her last three and on vinyl "Passinate Kisses"on the rough trade label, and "Just want to see you so bad"...the last a 12 inch vinyl 45....she is awesome.......glad to hear she is as great in person....regards to all, Bluenose
Hi JD; I like "Essense" also, and your review is excellent. And to me, it's a toss-up between "Essense" and "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" as to which I like better. "Car Wheels..." was released in 1998 in HDCD, but the only way you'd know that is a notation at the back of the liner notes, or if your CD player or DAC tell you. My 360S DAC shows it as a readout.
The HDCD version is an excellent recording. I didn't know it was previously released in a non-HDCD version? "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" is folksy, bluegrassy, blusey, and poppy, but it all comes together and is great. Tunes range from slow and nice to track #7, "Can't Let Go", which has percussion and guitars popping out all over the soundstage, and, in fact, I often use this track to demonstrate dynamics and soundstaging. There is some nice slide guitar on this CD too.
Tracks #6 and #10 "Lake Charles", and "Greenville" are slow, bluesy, and beautiful with L. Williams characteristic breathy, raspy voice. On track #12, vocals aren't recorded that well, but there is some great slide guitar, rhythm, and percussion. There isn't a weak track on this whole CD. All songs except one were written by L. Williams. She certainly has emerged as a premium singer-songwriter. I sure recommend this CD. Cheers. Craig
I was addicted to "Car Wheels" last year, and thank God, unlike some addictions I was able to cut back instead of having to quit cold turkey.
"Essence" comes out softer and slower, and if you are looking for that harder edge you have to wait for a few tracks. First listen to this disk may not reveal how special these songs are. If you think you hear a hint of Neil Young here, or even a faint breath of Lou Reed there, keep listening, its all Lucinda.
Production on this new disk is great and really shows off the bands ability to give every song its own feel. Every song is crafted with care, but still seems to come out with candor and honesty, strait from experience.
I have been a big fan of Lucinda Williams for some time and "Essence" does not disappoint.
OK, I picked up *ESSENSE* My first Lucinda CD. It's country music right? Does everyone on this thread agree? In all honesty the first listen did not knock my socks off.(Although I did enjoy the first track) I try to keep an open mind when listening to something new. As a rule I don't listen to country music at all. Maybe this is the problem? It doesn't do for me what Joni Mitchell,Tracy Chapman or even Sheryl Crow did for me the first time I heard their stuff.
Anyway I won't give up just yet. I will try a couple more times to see if it sinks in. WISH ME LUCK:~)
Sorry for confusion, Garfish is right "gravel" original release 1998 on Mercury label was HDCD and there is no remastered version.
However "lucinda williams" CD from 1988 was remastered in 1998 by Randy LeRoy, I have this version and it comes with cardboard oversleeve, expanded booklet and CD has 6 bonus tracks 5 of which are live, 18 total.
Jadem, an exemplary job on this review. I have not heard this release, but plan to add it to my collection after reading your words.
You made this look easy, but this is in fact, difficult work. Music is emotional, and coming up with the right words as to what is unique about this creation technically and artistically requires a great deal of focus.
Glen, yes her soul is in country, but in the same vain as Lyle Lovett. East Texas blues/ country/ rock. Stick with it, I don't listen to country either, but if you liked Tracy Chapman, you'll like this too.
I've seen Lucinda four times live. She plays a dive bar/nightclub in Minneapolis called First Avenue. The venue allows for about three thousand packed in and I have never been more than 20' from the stage. AWSOME!! If she comes through your town it's worth the $15 we pay at First Ave.
Glen; I agree with JD in that L. Williams may have a country soul, but I don't consider this a country CD. As I noted above, I think it has elements of folk, blues, bluegrass, and pop, and I'd also add country. But like the Cowboy Junkies, this music is very difficult to classify IMO. Craig.
It's starting to grow on me but I don't think I could go an inch further in that direction. One twang'd note and I'm standing in line at the return counter. This has been her saving grace so far. (no voice twanging) I think the twang I heard was just my cat (She seems to be enjoying the cd more this time around also) Sounds a little like Joan Osborne with maybe a hint of Susan Vega.
To be truthful I don't collect new music so I may be a little to critical. I normally don't even consider buying anything that hasen't stood the test of time for at least 5 years. That's just me!!!
With Lucinda, often less is more, but Glen you realize that, if you took a liking to the first track "Lonely Girls", which has, like, all of six different lines of lyrics. There's a great kind of stillness in this album that may take time to sink into your pores. Or, she might not be your type. As far as her soul, I think LW was bred in rural blues but her soul ranges far and wide, through country, folk and rock, as far as -- judging from comments she's made -- punk and grunge. I even think the intense inwardness yet unadorned spareness (no psychotherapeutic ramblings here) of her writing shows something of her punk/grunge leanings. Of course, it could just be the delta blues. Still, I could see her itching to just thrash it out for one whole set or CD. I think she didn't quite hit the mark lyrically on a few tunes on Essence but still like the album very much. Oh, thanks, JD, for your review. --Jayson
I confess the album bored me after awhile. The songs run the same vocal line into the ground, as if she was unable to generate a bridge vocal. I know bridges can be gimmicky, but a well thought out transition reinvigorates the verse melody. To my ear at least, without one, a verse/chorus song drags to a close.