Album of the Week: Lucinda Williams, 'Good Souls Better Angels'

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Lucinda Williams, 'Good Souls Better Angels'
Lucinda Williams, 'Good Souls Better Angels' (Highway 20 Records)

Two years after Lucinda Williams toured on the 20th anniversary of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, she returns with an album that redefines her career as a songwriter. The Americana poet channels her roots in country blues for an unapologetic album where less is more. Good Souls Better Angels is an exorcism of Williams' career as a writer which you can hear on songs like "Big Black Train" and "Wakin' Up." The songs range from traditional folk and blues to spoken word masterpieces backed by dissonant arrangements and guitar solos.

Decades after the emergence of the genre, Lucinda Williams continues to be at the center of Americana. Few artists in the genre have been so widely recognized and celebrated as a lyricist, performer, and influencer. Good Souls Better Angels is a raw exploration of Williams' writing that channels an emotional response to the social and political atmosphere of 2020. As you hear on "Shadows & Doubts," Williams presents the rawest material of recent albums while still making space for her backing musicians to add body to her timeless vocal style.

As a fan, listening to Williams' new album took me back to the first time hearing her '88 self-titled release. Tracking through what is now a classic was a reminder that Lucinda Williams' has never strayed from the authentic voice that challenged the status quo of contemporary folk. She continues that trend on the new album which you hear in the multiple vocal tracks on the haunting, "Bone of Contention," and epic closer, "Good Souls." Lucinda Williams' Good Souls Better Angels adds another dimension to her career and the musical fingerprint of the year.

Lucinda Williams' Good Souls Better Angels is out now.

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