Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lucinda Williams In Big Sur

29 JUNE, 2012
Lucinda Williams made a rare stripped down appearance at the Henry Miller Library, ably accompanied by guitarist Doug Pettibone, as she took a rambling tour of her catalogue, touching on every album except West over the course of a nearly two hour show.  She was in fine form, and seemed to weight the set away from the hits, and more towards the heart. 
Always a taskmaster on stage, Lucinda's mood this evening befit the tranquil environs-even when it wasn't letter perfect, she kept at it, or had a laugh and moved on.  The sound was just right, and enough can't be said of Doug Pettibone's playing throughout the night, providing just the right touch to help drive the songs and make up for the lack of band, but not overwhelm.
Aside from the old favorites, it was a particular thrill to be blessed with the debut of not one, but two new songs: "When I Look At The World", (above), and "Bitter Memory", (below).  Lucinda mentioned a clutch of twenty songs ready to go, so it would appear that a new album will be in the offing in the not too distant future.
Lucinda is one of the few artists that I honestly can't remember how many times I've seen over the last twenty plus years.  I've caught her in most conceivable settings, from little bars to theaters to arenas, headlining, supporting at benefits, or as an opening act, but this...this was the best I've ever seen her.

As always, it ultimately comes down to That Voice, the magnificently wracked instrument that is probably as close as this generation gets to Billie Holiday, in terms of translating the songs into a unique expression.  Always a wonder to behold, in this setting it was a beacon among the pines.

Side Of The Road
I Don't Know How You're Livin'
World Without Tears
When I Look At The World (new)
Ugly Truth
Lake Charles
Bitter Memory (new)
People Talkin'
Crescent City (3 attempts, then move on)
Well Well Well
Jailhouse Tears
Out Of Touch
Down The Big Road Blues
Changed The Locks
Honey Bee

I Ain't Got No Home (Woody Guthrie)
Hard Time Killing Floor Blues (Skip James)
Get Right With God

Closing note: Need to mention the fine job that Magnus & the gang do at the Henry Miller Library-every show there feels special, and it is.  They are currently at just over 10% of this year's fundraising goal.  If you have the means, please help them continue to do their good work!

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