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by: Lucinda Williams

Album Artwork

(Lost Highway)

Blessed counts as Lucinda Williams’ tenth studio album. Produced by Don Was (Rolling Stones & Black Crowes), Blessed features Lucinda’s strongest collection of songs in years. Now 58, her material retains a resigned wisdom on these 12 compositions.

“Buttercup”, a swinging and swirling number of penance opens Blessed with tangled twangs and a little grit. She spells it out true and clear: “You want my forgiveness and that I will give to you/But you got yourself into this mess and there's nothing I can do/
And now you want somebody to be your buttercup/Good luck finding your buttercup…”

“I Don’t Know How You’re Livin’”, a melancholy tune, allows Lucinda to utilize brilliant lyrical phrasing to evoke emotion. “Copenhagen” emits a lush soundscape augmented by lyrics of displacement. “Born to Be Loved” evokes a Daniel Lanois production ambience. This honest tune serves as one of the strongest numbers on Blessed. Lucinda wrote “Seein’ Black” for Athens, Georgia, songwriter Vic Chesnutt who committed suicide on Christmas Day 2009. “Seein’ Black” features Elvis Costello on lead guitar…

“Soldier’s Song” counts as a modern day protest tune. The music softens the blow of the songwriter’s piercing, merciless words. The title track covers the cost of the album, and would surely make Flannery O’Connor proud with the “Blessed” lyrics:

“We were blessed by the minister who practiced what he preached
We were blessed by the poor man who said that heaven was within reach
We were blessed by the girl selling roses who showed us how to live
We were blessed by the neglected child who knew how to forgive.”

“Sweet Love” adheres to the cohesive mood Blessed conjures, and ranks as one the 'sweetest songs'—indeed. “Ugly Truth”, a true gem, marries melody and words in only the inimitable way Lucinda writes. “Convince Me" weaves a beautiful sonic web around her most compelling and heart-rending vocal performance on Blessed.

“Awakening” conjures a slow pulse beat and lyrics that leave you somewhere between a memory and a dream. The final cut, “Kiss Like Your Kiss” closes this collection with a quiet, permanent goodbye. If Swampland employed the stars-per-review system, Blessed would receive 9 out of 10 stars…it stands as a classic.

James Calemine


related tags

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