Car Wheels On A Gravel Road

A rare talent in the truest sense of the word...

Car Wheels On A Gravel Road

9 / 10 A RARE TALENT IN THE TRUEST sense of the word, Louisiana native Lucinda Williams has released only four albums in a career spanning 18 years. Drawing deep on her peripatetic youth, 'Car Wheels...' is her masterpiece, a meditation on the past, suffused with love, anger, remorse, resilience and, above all, a dreamy sensuality.



Produced by one-time Springsteen sideman Roy Bittan and mixed by Rick Rubin, the album turns that much-maligned genre - call it American roots rock - into a heady, soul-baring and, would you believe, unabashedly sexy art form. 'Car Wheels...' captures both geographical landscape and emotional mind-set better than any album since Dylan's 'Time Out Of Mind'.



What she has over all the other girls with guitars is a masterful sense of pace and rhythm, deliciously tailored tunes and a big, warm, enveloping voice with a burnished edge. The opening 'Right In Time' is rich in meaning, pulsing with the thrill of love remembered, and hurting with the chill of absence. Singing about a hard-man lover now in prison ('Concrete And Barbed Wire') or her childhood home ('Lake Charles'), she transcends the details to go deep into aching loss or euphoric fulfilment.



The title track suggests escape, but the road in question stretches all over the Deep South, each place leaving a deep impression on the singer. Which is fitting, because here Williams has made that landscape her own, reminding the listener that she's an overlooked treasure. Go on, enrich yourself.

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