Lucinda Williams “Essence”

This Ain’t Yer Mama’s Sequel

Those of you looking for Car Wheels II, buy a beer and hit the blue highway back to Jackson. With a few exceptions, this album is a major departure from the wandering blues troubadour style of Williams’ Grammy winning effort of three years ago.

This album is a bold move. It would have been all too easy for Williams to make like Betty Crocker or for that matter Phil Collins, break out the cookie cutters, make an easy, money making sequel, and keep pumping out Wheels II, Wheels III, Wheels Infinity, die happy and wealthy. Luckily, easy and greed do not seem to be in William’s vocabulary.

Indeed, given the expectations of her past success, many listeners/devotees will scorn this effort, wanting that easily accessible blues tinged rock Car Wheels vibe. I say…screw the lot. People will be listening to this CD and appreciating its understated beauty as long as the unique over the top blue brilliance of Car Wheels.

So everyone always wants to know…what were the cool songs? WE MUST HAVE SINGLES!! I say… this is not one single…nor two…nor three…It is an album…in the truest sense…There are gems… there are throwaways…but the whole supercedes. Having said that, “Broken Butterflies,” is hallucinogenic, remarkable and utterly beautiful. Consider it my failing for having mentioned it above others equally deserving on this CD.

As a final aside, I am possessed with the idea of sharing this album with a lover on a quiet Sunday morning, smoking a little herb, drinking mimosas (cheap champagne of course.) enjoying ourselves, backed by the sweet and biting undulations of this album.

I would definitely suggest sharing the magic of this album with others. Buy early, buy often and spread the joy!

–Steven P. Kramer

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