Lucinda Williams, Dust

I knew Lucinda Williams had a new album coming out, but I guess it’s already in stores (as if there were stores).

Bob Lefsetz wrote a glowing piece about the song Dust, which he found on Spotify in a recommended playlist. It’s a typical Williams rant of woe (inspirational lyric “Even your thoughts are dust”), and she does these darkly and with a sonic charge on all her albums since Essence, maybe, and while it’s hard for me to get fired up by them any more (even though I’m sure this is about the death of her father, a great poet, who died last year), Lefsetz is right that the two guitar parts are gorgeous and compelling, and the song is incantatory.

Plus, the drumming is fantastic and so important.

The guitarists are the great Bill Frissell and a guy named Eric Leisz, who has played in Clapton’s band. Here’s the song:

Nice, right?

Lefsetz’s glowing piece doesn’t stay glowing, because he discovered that if he wanted to hear the rest of the album he would have to buy a CD, and who does that (apart from Moyer)?

And he’s right. No album on Spotify. I subscribe to Google Music, and the album isn’t there either. This seems so backward!

But I wonder if Lefsetz gets the position of artists like Williams (and Iris Dement, too, who has a new album out only available as CD or downloaded files–for the same price). They have toured long and hard and in support of deep and solid bodies of work. Their audience is old, like me, and the chance of them having a big airplay hit that racks up Spotify plays are pretty small.

The business is in transition, and it kind of makes sense to me for artists like this to hold onto the old model, not stream right away, and see if they can make a go getting the physical media fetishists to pay real cash for their CDs.

They’ll have plenty of time to collect the tiny residuals checks from the streaming services later.


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