Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

I have read so much about Lucinda Williams that by the time I heard her I was like “This is what she sounds like?”

(I have had the same experience with numerous musicians and singer-songwriters, some of whom have later come to be favourite. Fred Eaglesmith comes to mind as someone who, after reading about him too much, I was initially very disappointed and then came to like him a lot.)

On first listen, I wasn’t really impressed. Williams has a good voice but she isn’t the most engaging performer – she’s fine but she’s not some kind of dynamo. Moreover, the songs didn’t really register as “above average” to me.

After a few listens, I think the songs are mostly better than I gave her credit for. She’s a pretty traditional songwriter – as befits her chosen genre – but she’s got a good sense of melody. I don’t love her lyrics a lot of the time, but sometimes they’re. I guess I find them a little too straightforward for my liking.

And that’s sort of where I get stuck here; the aesthetic works and the songs are fine but I either need better lyrics or a slightly more engaging performance for me to get really excited about her.

Maybe I’ll change my mind whenever I get around to other albums. We’ll see.


All tracks by Lucinda Williams except where noted.

  1. “Right in Time” – 4:35
  2. “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” – 4:44
  3. “2 Kool 2 Be 4-gotten” – 4:42
  4. “Drunken Angel” – 3:20
  5. “Concrete and Barbed Wire” – 3:08
  6. “Lake Charles” – 5:27
  7. “Can’t Let Go” (Randy Weeks) – 3:28
  8. “I Lost It” – 3:31
  9. “Metal Firecracker” – 3:30
  10. “Greenville” – 3:23
  11. “Still I Long For Your Kiss” (Williams, Duane Jarvis) – 4:09
  12. “Joy” – 4:01
  13. “Jackson” – 3:42
  • Lucinda Williams – Vocals, acoustic guitar, Dobro guitar
  • Gurf Morlix – electric guitar, 12 string electric guitar, electric slide guitar, harmony vocal, acoustic slide guitar
  • John Ciambotti – bass guitar, upright bass
  • Donald Lindley – drums, percussion
  • Buddy Miller – acoustic guitar, mando guitar, harmony vocal, electric guitar
  • Ray Kennedy – 12 string electric guitar
  • Greg Leisz – 12 string electric guitar, mandolin
  • Roy Bittan – Hammond B3 organ, accordion, organ
  • Jim Lauderdale – harmony vocal
  • Charlie Sexton – electric guitar, Dobro guitar
  • Steve Earle – acoustic guitar, harmonica, harmony vocal, resonator guitar
  • Johnny Lee Schell – electric guitar, electric slide guitar, Dobro guitar
  • Bo Ramsey – electric guitar, slide guitar
  • Micheal Smotherman – B-3 organ
  • Richard “Hombre” Price – Dobro guitar
  • Emmylou Harris – harmony vocal

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