our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
glorious return with the Grammy-Award-Winning Car Wheels on
a Gravel Road, little doubt remained in peoples' minds that
Lucinda Williams's next album would impress. What was unexpected,
however, was that the new album would ultimately surpass the last.
the music down even more so than that found on Car Wheels
(and embracing the production finesse of Charlie Sexton), Williams
opted for an album of introspection rather than proclamation.
Throughout Essence's 11 bare-boned tracks, honesty and
sorrow radiate from Williams, her mouth providing the doorway
down her throat directly to her soul.
From the album
opener "Lonely Girls" through the final flutter of "Broken
Butterflies," Williams's simplisticly sparse lyrics are proof
that feeling your words can do much more than struggling with
complex poetics. Rarely can one say so much by saying so little.
over airy guitars and the melancholic shuffle of lightly brushed
percussion adorn the album and shine their brightest in "Reason
to Cry" and 'Bus to Baton Rouge," while the words drip
from her tongue on the sexual purr of "Essence."
In only once
instance does Williams let loose from the weights that bind her
down. "Get Right With God" finds Williams professing
a love for The Almighty in a folk-gospel ruckus that's almost
enough to make an unbeliever stand up in praise.
does nothing but delight, a succulent morsel of satisfaction
for the soul - if only to join in Williams's proclamation that
life is feeling.
one find such a flawless exploration in honesty..