Before the Gravel Road

[l1]A[/l1]llison loaned me her copy of “Lucinda Williams' eponymous albumLucinda Williams” a few weeks ago. She casually mentioned that she and Lucinda used to play together as children. I’m still waiting for a photo good enough to post, but even in the copy her dad faxed to her, it’s pretty obvious which one of the group is Allison, and which one’s Cindy.

It’s also pretty obvious when the one singing is Lucinda Williams. Her last two albums, “Lucinda Williams' 'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” and “Lucinda Williams' 'Essence'Essence” are both award winners. Her third album, eponymously entitled, is just as much a winner, despite academia’s failure to recognize it officially.

If you’ve only heard Lucinda on the radio, you probably think of her as a blues singer. “Can’t Let Go” got plenty of air time, and deservedly so. Lucinda is a blues singer, and a good one. But she’s also that incredibly rare phenomenon: a country artist I actually enjoy.

After her first two albums, “Lucinda Williams' 'Ramblin'Ramblin’“, recorded in a single afternoon in 1979, and 1980’s “Lucinda Williams' 'Happy Woman Blues'Happy Woman Blues” Lucinda waited nearly a decade to come up with the album bearing her name. In fact, the shortest hiatus after that initial frenzy was the three years between “Car Wheels” and “Essence”, released last year. From a purely chronological perspective, she appears to be a careful artist. Her recordings don’t suggest anything less.

Mixing country ballads, alt

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