I have a confession to make.
I’m in love.
With Lucinda Williams.
I got hooked by Essence back in 2001, hit ebay to snap up all the back catalogue, and so began a love affair.
Because Lucinda Williams has the voice of a fallen angel.
A fallen angel who’s lived rock and roll – and how.
Her Louisiana drawl is as lived in as Marianne Faithfull’s broken English.
Her songs are fuelled by country heartbreak, of lives lived fast and lost ahead of their time, of the plight of the working man in a world ravaged by recession.
Little wonder Bruce Springsteen is in love with her, too, and sat in on her set in London.
Lucinda’s intimate Birmingham Town Hall gig took things back to basics. Reunited with guitar virtuoso Doug Pettibone and bassist Dave Sutton, she delivered a career-spanning set.
Just the three of them in the middle of that big empty stage, the most basic of lighting, the emphasis was on the songs. And the voice.
Don’t forget the voice.
From Passionate Kisses – a song she wrote for good friend Mary Chapin Carpenter – to a rousing finalé of Get Right With God, this was simply spellbinding.
These were songs populated by beautiful losers, suicides, bleeding fingers and broken guitar strings.
Drunken Angel – the most requested song on the tour – was written for the late country hellraiser Blaze Foley, but Lucinda says it could just as well be about Gram Parsons or Kurt Cobain.
She has, she admits, lightened up of late. New song When I Look At The World may list dark places to be but offers light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s my glass half-full song,” she drawls.
And another newcomer, Everything But The Truth, written and recorded for Jonny Depp’s upcoming remake of The Lone Ranger is a great song.
But it’s a run of rock and roll songs, for which she shifts to electric guitar, that steals the show.
Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings is followed by the sultry, claustrophobic Essence.
Essence is followed by Joy; Joy by Honey Bee.
It’s not just the guitar that’s electric as the set proper comes to a close.
The encores include a brooding version of Springsteen’s Factory, worth the price of admission alone.
I listened to all the albums again. That’s love for you.
When I Look At The World
I Lost It
Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
Those Three Days
Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings
Side Of The Road
Everything But The Truth
Get Right With God