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CD Reviews

LUCINDA WILLIAMS/CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD (Mercury Records 314 558 338-2)

Lucinda Williams doesn’t release a lot of albums but what she does release is spectacular. I can already tell you, without any doubt, that "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" is one of the best recordings of 1998. The disc contains 13 tracks, 12 of which were written by Williams, and all of which are excellent examples of what a well-crafted song can be like. The disc also features appearances by the likes of Steve Earle, Roy Bittan, Emmylou Harris, Charlie Sexton, and Buddy Miller among others.

Lucinda’s sound lies somewhere between folk and blues. I think she leans toward the blues side but her song writing has more of a folk styling to it. I usually point out my favorite songs in a review but this album is just 13 great songs, period. None stand above the others because each reveals its own unique qualities. Lucinda strives to make each of her songs reflect a piece of the human experience. While she does center her themes around love, usually a lost love, each song somehow manages to go off in a different direction.

Lucinda Williams is easily one of the most under-rated artists out there (at least as far as the public is concerned). Mary Chapin Carpenter recorded a version of Williams’ "Passionate Kisses" that had only a fraction of the passion in the original performance yet managed to become a big hit. Critics have consistently raved about Williams’ albums yet she remains somewhat of an acquired taste in the music world. Bonnie Raitt has hit after hit while Lucinda Williams patiently waits in the background for her time in the spotlight. Lucinda’s time will come, but you shouldn’t wait, she’s got too much great music already waiting to be discovered. Buy two copies of this one and give one to a friend, it really is that good!