Tuesday, December 05, 2006

In House #1759: Deluxe Reissue of Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels On a Gravel Road

It's not often that an album gets the remaster/reissue treatment just eight years after its initial release, but Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels On a Gravel Road may be one of the few releases over the past decade or so that deserves such an honor. At the time, it had been six years since her previous effort (1992's Sweet Old World), and the recording of Car Wheels proved to be a frustrating and arduous process for Williams as she switched locales and producers three times, beginning with Gurf Morlix in Austin before moving on to Steve Earle's Twangtrust in Nashville, and finally Roy Bittan in Los Angeles. Whatever was wrong, she finally got it right-- the result was (and is) her strongest output, garnering both acclaim and sales after a somewhat obscure twenty year career as a musician. Guest stars included the likes of Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, and Emmylou Harris, among others, on an outstanding collection of songs of love and loss, much of it reading like a desperate Southern roadtrip with songs titled "Lake Charles," "Greenville," and "Jackson." It was here that the "realness" of Williams' imperfect, whiskey-pained voice set a new standard for female artists on the alt. side of the country spectrum. Indeed, her influence can be traced to a number of artists who have arrived since, from Kathleen Edwards and Kasey Chambers to Angela Desveaux and Amy Millan.

The new Car Wheels deluxe edition, aside from being entirely remastered, adds three bonus tracks including the original version of her song "Out of Touch," an outstanding take on the 1920's blues classic "Down the Big Road Blues," and an alternate version of "Still I Long for Your Kiss," originally appearing on the soundtrack to the film The Horse Whisperer. In addition, the second disc captures Williams and her band on a thirteen song set they played live for WXPN's World Cafe back in July of 1998. Included there are versions of four songs from earlier on in her catalog. Not surprisingly, Car Wheels On a Gravel Road hasn't aged a day and sounds as fresh now as ever. Whether you're looking for a starting point in Williams' music or listening again after some time on the shelf, the reissue is a welcome excuse for either.

In House #17
Airdate: 12/05/06

Focus: Newly reissued, deluxe edition of Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels On a Gravel Road, plus new music from Willie Nelson, Dan Bern, Hacienda Brothers, and more.

Lucinda Williams, from Car Wheels On a Gravel Road:
"Drunken Angel" (MP3)


In House PODCAST #218


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