Too Much Desire

Too Much Desire

by Robyn Ludwick
     
 
Three years previously, Texas songwriter Robyn Ludwick's debut album, For So Long, appeared like a stunning blast of central Texas summer heat from the hill country outside Austin. It stands as one of those shocks to the system that makes a listener sit up, take notice, and get slain by. It is sophisticated but uncompromising; it's

Overview

Three years previously, Texas songwriter Robyn Ludwick's debut album, For So Long, appeared like a stunning blast of central Texas summer heat from the hill country outside Austin. It stands as one of those shocks to the system that makes a listener sit up, take notice, and get slain by. It is sophisticated but uncompromising; it's as sensual as the moisture from a lover's lips on a hot humid night, and as raw as a fresh tattoo. It can't hurt that her brothers are Bruce and Charlie Robison, her sister-in-law is Kelly Willis, and her husband is bassist John Ludwick. But the songs are all hers. Too Much Desire mirrors its title perfectly: its songs are full of the extremes in human emotion and behavior, reflecting the thoughts that occur to us while keeping the night watch restlessly awaiting the dawn. Ludwick's songs are rooted in Texas country music, folk, and even country gospel and rock. Her voice is full and rich, a deep contralto that is as Southern and rugged as the terrain she comes from; it goes deep like Lucinda Williams or Rosanne Cash, yet is as lonesome, rich, and expressive as Stevie Nicks at her best. Husband John and brother-in-law Mike Hardwick (who play bass and guitar, respectively) produced the set, with Eddie Cantu on drums and guitarist Andrew Nafziger completing the band. There are one-offs by friends and more family. Michael Ramos, Warren Hood, Willis, Eliza Gilkyson, Thomas Robison Ludwick, her brothers, and Eleanor Whitmore also appear. Ludwick is among the most searing, confessional songwriters out there, and the bravery in her approach to delivering these revelatory lyrics-as-exposed-secrets is made possible by the group that backs her. Very few songwriters, male or female, can pull off a lyric as naked as ."..I know it ain't cool/How you play with my heart/But it hurts so good when you tear it apart/You're gonna make it alright tonight..." on "Alright," the album opener. It gets more intimate from here, but vulnerability -- expressed with acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, a fiddle here and there, and some backing vocal support -- shouldn't be translated as weakness. Despite the whining steel and unplugged six-string in true Texas waltz style, one can hear the truth of Bessie Smith's "Empty Bed Blues" in "'72 Texas," when Ludwick sings: "Now I'm lookin' for love/But it ain't lookin good/You see the boys that I like/They don't treat me no damn good...." Ludwick's characters are women who've been deeply disappointed by love, life, and empty promises, but refuse to surrender. No matter how beaten, her protagonists always roll the dice again. They have no way out -- as expressed in the amazing song of the same title -- but don't care, because the horizon is empty and what's available is right now. "Boulevard," a rocker, is a "bad girl"'s anthem of desire laid bare -- it knows the cost and is more than willing to pay it. Yet this is only the beginning of this magical record. Ludwick is a poet and storyteller ("Sweet Marie") whose art pours truth from a broken-necked bottle; it's there in spades. Her aesthetic strength comes from, to paraphrase W.B. Yeats, "the rag and bone shop of the heart." Too Much Desire is strong yet beautiful stuff. It aches and staggers, struts, crumbles in tears, then rises to do it all again throughout. It's as elegant and graceful as a straight razor; it takes no prisoners, makes no apologies. In other words, it's just drop-dead gorgeous.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/20/2008
Label:
Late Show Records
UPC:
0678572960321
catalogNumber:
2
Rank:
249461

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robyn Ludwick   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Eliza Gilkyson   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Rich Brotherton   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin
Kim Deschamps   Pedal Steel Guitar
Michael Ramos   Piano,Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
Bruce Robison   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Charlie Robison   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Eddie Cantu   Percussion,Drums
John Ludwick   Percussion,Electric Bass,Background Vocals,Upright Bass,Vocal Harmony
Mike Hardwick   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Electric Guitar
Karen Poston   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Andrew Nafziger   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Warren Hood   Mandolin,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Michael Shay   Cello
Eleanor Whitmore   Violin,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Andrew Hernandez   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Melissa Becker   Viola

Technical Credits

John Ludwick   Producer,Audio Production
Mike Hardwick   Producer,Audio Production
Eleanor Whitmore   Arranger,String Arrangements
Robyn Ludwick   Composer
Ellen Breaux   Audio Production
David Tasgal   Composer

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