Live @ the Fillmore

Live @ the Fillmore

5.0 3
by Lucinda Williams
     
 

Time was that Lucinda Williams was merely a critics' darling adored for literate, often heartbreaking songs that gracefully straddled country, folk, and rock. Her uneven live performances, though, seemed to prevent her from going beyond that circle. While her best bout in the studio remains 1998's Grammy-winning Car WheelsSee more details below

Overview

Time was that Lucinda Williams was merely a critics' darling adored for literate, often heartbreaking songs that gracefully straddled country, folk, and rock. Her uneven live performances, though, seemed to prevent her from going beyond that circle. While her best bout in the studio remains 1998's Grammy-winning Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Williams's concerts have continued to improve as she discovers greater range in her maturing voice and a new looseness in front of fans. Both make her first live album all the more appealing. Recorded in 2004 at the lauded San Francisco venue, Live @ the Fillmore is both a neat audio postcard from a stop on Williams's tour for World Without Tears and an excellent representation of her far-ranging talents -- commanding balladeer, sweaty blues queen, convincing rocker. On "Fruits of My Labor," the depth of expression in her voice is both poignant and heated, while her honeyed warble on a subdued, acoustic-based "Bus to Baton Rouge" adds resonance to a song that plays out like a short story. The live setting allows Williams and her firecracker band to wallow in the blues, as on extended versions of the scorned lover's plaint "Joy" and the searing "Atonement," which she introduces as "influenced by ZZ Top." But she sounds just as confident dishing out the melodic rockers that have been her stock-in-trade since Rosanne Cash had a country hit with Williams's "Passionate Kisses" (notably absent from the set list here), from the sweet-sounding "I Lost It" to the fevered "Essence" to the biting "Righteously." While longtime Lucinda devotees might lament the unbalanced representation of her songbook (all but four songs are from her last two albums) and the lack of new material, Live @ the Fillmore is a deeply satisfying listen from top to bottom.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Lucinda Williams has earned a reputation for her meticulous approach to making albums, but a careful listen to her work suggests that she isn't trying to make her music sound perfect, she just wants it to sound right, and she isn't afraid to spend the extra time waiting for the charmed moment to get caught on tape. This attitude seems to be borne out in her first-ever concert album, Live @ The Fillmore, which manages to sound carefully considered, and a model of "warts and all" authenticity at the same time. Recorded during a three-night stand in San Francisco, the album captures Williams' band in superb form -- Doug Pettibone's guitars, Taras Prodaniuk's bass, and Jim Christie's drums merge into a tight and emphatic groove machine that can match Williams's many moods, whether she's quietly contemplative on "Blue," rocking out hard on "Changed the Locks," or howling the blues on "Essence," while the deeply resonant recording and mix gives them the royal treatment. Williams herself is a slightly more complicated matter here -- her performance is deeply into the spirit, so much so that sometimes her melismatic wanderings and broad phrasing sound like they're verging on caricature. But this is clearly a recording of a performance, and by the time we get to the end of disc two, the broad strokes have coalesced into something quite remarkable; as Williams searches through the nooks and crannies of her songs, you sense she's discovering things that she didn't expect to find, and it's a tremendous thing to hear. Lucinda Williams is an artist who writes from her soul, and she's thoroughly unafraid of letting her passion show when she sings. If that makes for strained technique, it also results in very real art, and this album offers a privileged glimpse of a singular songwriter in full flight.
Rolling Stone - Brian Hiatt
An effective summary of Williams' career as a prophet of, as she puts it, "all that's alarming, raw and exposed."

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/10/2005
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0602498621233
catalogNumber:
000236802
Rank:
8798

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lucinda Williams   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Taras Prodaniuk   Bass Guitar,Background Vocals
Jim Christie   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Doug Pettibone   Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Background Vocals,Lap Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Lucinda Williams   Composer,Producer,Concept,Audio Production
Craig Allen   Art Direction
Frank Callari   Executive Producer,Management
Guy Charbonneau   Engineer
Michael Dumas   Engineer
Stephen Marcussen   Mastering
Taras Prodaniuk   Producer,Audio Production
Charlie Bouis   Engineer
Karen Naff   Art Direction
Hugh DAndrade   Artwork
Arlene Owseichik   Art Direction

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