West

West

4.3 3
by Lucinda Williams
     
 

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Lucinda Williams certainly isn't the first singer-songwriter to wear her heart on her sleeve, but on West, she does so while simultaneously bringing the listener to a higher level of emotional consciousness. West ranks with the most nakedly personal work of her career, and it offers fans insight into the artistic process. Williams has stated inSee more details below

Overview

Lucinda Williams certainly isn't the first singer-songwriter to wear her heart on her sleeve, but on West, she does so while simultaneously bringing the listener to a higher level of emotional consciousness. West ranks with the most nakedly personal work of her career, and it offers fans insight into the artistic process. Williams has stated in interviews that several of the album's songs were written in the wake of her mother's death -- an event that she deals with in surprisingly direct manner on the plangent-yet-steely "Fancy Funeral" (a passionate disavowal of just such an event), as well as on the wistful "Mama You Sweet." Williams's quavering vocal twang is practically unadorned on those tracks, and this only adds to its stealthy impact. Elsewhere, she's backed by a deceptively complex swath of strings, a backing no doubt conceptualized by producer Hal Willner and brought to fruition by violinist Jenny Scheinman. West isn't entirely given over to such pensive moments, however. In fact, it's peppered with songs that -- as David Bowie might say -- kick like a mule. "Come On," for instance, finds Williams cutting her way through sinewy guitar riffs to deliver a series of classic kiss-off lines in which she informs a dumped lover that he, shall we say, left her a bit less than satisfied in the bedroom. The nine-minute "Wrap Your Head Around That" is a little less direct, but its hypnotic blues drone is every bit as visceral, the sort of thing you wouldn't be surprised to hear emanating from a shack in the Mississippi hill country late on a starless night. For all the emotional upheaval in its grooves, however, West conveys a sense of redemption -- the notion that things will ultimately be all right for Williams, and for the listener as well.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
The title of West reflects the change in Lucinda Williams' life as she moved to Los Angeles. It also reflects what had been left behind. Williams is nothing if not a purely confessional songwriter. She continually walks in the shadowlands to bring out what is both most personal yet universal in her work, to communicate to listeners directly and without compromise. If Essence and World Without Tears took chances and stated different sides of the songwriter and her world, West jumps off the ledge into the sky of freedom, where anything can be said without worry of consequence and where anything can be said in any way she wishes. It's entirely appropriate that West was released on the day before Valentine's Day 2007, for it's a record about the heart, about its volumes of brokenness, about its acceptance of its state, and how, with the scars still visible to the bearer, it opens wider and becomes the font of love itself. But the journey is a dark one. First there's the music and the production. Williams chose Hal Willner to produce West. Williams, who'd been writing a lot, demoed some songs before she brought in Willner. He stripped down the demos but kept the scratch vocals. From there, the pair created the rest of the album together, never re-recording Williams' initial vocals. The vocals were accompanied by her guitar playing; Willner wanted her inherent phrasing and rhythmic flow. Willner also brought his own crew to play with Williams. This collaboration -- as unlikely as it might seem on the surface -- results in something utterly different and yet unmistakably Lucinda Williams. West is a warm, inviting, yet very dark record about grief, the loss of love, anger at a lover who cannot deliver, and embracing the possibility of change. In other words, it's not without its redemptive moments. Williams has put all of her qualities on display at once with an unbridled and unbowed sense of adventure here on her eighth album. She, her bandmates, and Willner have come up with exactly what pop music needs: a real work of art based in contemporary forms and feelings. West is an album that will no doubt attract more than a few new fans, and will give old ones, if they are open enough, a recording to relish.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/13/2007
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0602498583487
catalogNumber:
000693802
Rank:
32464

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lucinda Williams   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Jim Keltner   Percussion,Drums
Gia Ciambotti   Background Vocals
Bill Frisell   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Tony Garnier   Electric Bass,Double Bass
Gary Louris   Background Vocals
Hal Willner   Turntables,Sampling
Doug Pettibone   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Rob Burger   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Wurlitzer,Vox Organ,Prepared Piano,Hammond B3
Timothy Loo   Cello
Jenny Scheinman   Violin
Robert Brophy   Viola

Technical Credits

Lucinda Williams   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Michael Dumas   Engineer
Hal Willner   Producer,Audio Production
Eric Liljestrand   Engineer
Annie Leibovitz   Cover Photo
Gavin Lurssen   Mastering
Miller Williams   Author
Rob Burger   String Arrangements
Tom Overby   Executive Producer
Jenny Scheinman   String Arrangements
Jason Wormer   Engineer
Vanessa Parr   Engineer
Matt Brown   Engineer

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