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Lucinda Williams: Blessed

Lost Highway



Lucinda Williams is nothing if not honest. "I'll never be able to comprehend the extensiveness of what I've just learned," she sings on the acoustic-driven ballad "Copenhagen." Williams is nearing her 60s, yet will likely never be mellowed or humbled by age. She's a firecracker, spewing venom at an unnamed ex ("You already fucked me dry/Can't do it anymore, honey") on "Buttercup" and cutting spare, breathless vocals like nothing's changed since 1998, when she released her seminal alt-country disc Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. But Williams' new album is also genuinely pretty: The title track is a tender rumination on human decency, while "Seeing Black" digs deep to solve unanswered questions about a morally guilty friend. Likewise, the quiet, contemplative "I Don't Know How You're Livin'" feels alternately bitter and affectionate. The deliberately subdued instrumentation is sometimes sleepy, but works on haunting tracks like "Ugly Truth." For the most part, though, Blessed is memorable because Williams bleeds grizzled, stubborn integrity. (3 out of 5 stars)

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