Night Music: Lucinda Williams, “Protection”

Lucinda Williams has a new album out, called Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. As these things go in the modern age, she’s releasing it on her own record label. I don’t know what happened to Lost Highway, but that seemed like it should have been a home forever.

Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is a double album, which is too much at this point. She’s one of my favorite performers and songwriters, but in recent years she’s become more of a boogie franchise than a songwriter. Not that that’s a bad thing. But how many folks are still writing great songs by album No. 12?

Lucinda used to write great songs. Now she writes pretty good words for pretty good riffs. There’s a big difference, but the latter isn’t bad, especially when the band is lively and tight.

There is something else about this album that struck me. The sound is incredibly present and bright. Maybe it’s compression, at least some, but it also feels like the microphones are wired hot, getting every bit of sound and reverb, and pressing directly to, um, my stream. The room feels alive, ready to pop, and that makes the music sound live-er than it sometimes is.

That was coming over Google Music. This YouTube clip has a bit of that, too, when you turn it up. But mostly it has a rock-solid band boogying rock solidly, and one of my favorite musicians and songwriters working out.

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