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Around Our Town...Music to My Ears

Lucinda Williams: Live @ The Fillmore

07/01/2005 - It's kind of unfair how some folks can create breathtaking, life altering art so effortlessly, when others of us (okay, me.) could beat our heads vainly against the wall of creativity forever and never come up with anything meaningful. Or even interesting, for that matter. That's just how Lucinda Williams makes me feel.

There's a whole mess of people who know what they're talking about who say that she is the greatest living American songwriter. Who am I to argue? I only know that her music inspires me. It inspires me to dream and think and write. And listen. It's strange how folks like Lucinda can express the profound so eloquently, using the same everyday language that we all use...you know, everyday. The lyrical pictures she paints are masterpieces depicting lost love and raw, unabated emotion. It's poetry.

But what's maybe even better than the words, is the delivery. Lucinda Williams is who she is. No affectation. No pretense. She'll give it to you with both barrels, man. Laconic twang and listless, almost slurred blues wrapped in a thick layer of jaded sarcasm and hopeless optimism. It's like when we all say things will get better, knowing all the while that life's just plain tough and nothing's gonna change. But you've got to keep on trying. But then maybe that's why we all keep making the same stupid mistakes. See? There I go! It's Lucinda's fault. If you're not already crazy, she has the power to make you that way with her incredible songs and awesome band.

"Live @ The Fillmore" is really an amazing recording. Art can be so elusive, you know, tough to capture. I'm sure you've experienced moments that were priceless, like a well- told joke in a circle of good friends, a particularly brilliant sunset, or maybe holding a loved one's hand while they passed over to the other side. How do you get those back? You don't. That's why this record is so valuable. Lucinda has been caught in a bottle. Watch out when you pull the stopper, because she's contagious. The songs on the disc were recorded over the course of three nights at the legendary Fillmore

Auditorium. Musically, the songs vacillate between heartbreaking, quiet ballads featuring Lucinda's acoustic guitar and Doug Pettibone's crying steel guitar, and bluesy, dirty rockers which display Pettibone's unbelievably raw, rocking distorted leads and messy rhythmn playing. At times, I can imagine Lucinda singing in front of Neil Young's band, Crazy Horse. This is most true in the case of "Out Of Touch," which I consider to be the album's high point. In fact, this version of "Out Of Touch" may well be one of the coolest recordings I've ever heard. No kidding.

Other highlights include...Oh, come on. The whole thing is incredible. It, like so much of what I care to listen to, will not fit in a box. It's country, blues, folk, and rock and roll. Mostly it's just important, if music should be considered important in the grand scheme, and I believe it should. Think about it for a second. Where would we be without literature, art and music? These things provide a necessary depth to life, a point of reference.

In this respect, Lucinda Williams has been a key contributor to the life of the soul. If you're having trouble getting your arms around what I'm trying to say here, liberate yourself and get in the game. This record could be a good place to start. It's time to live, folks.

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