Celtic Connections 2016: Lucinda Williams review and photographs by Pauline Keightley
Lucinda Williams rocked at Celtic Connections 2016!
One sassy rock on lady! While I had read good reviews of Lucinda Williams, I came to her late. Now aged sixty-two she’s been having more success as she’s got older.
As we waited in the packed Glasgow concert hall an enthusiastic man appeared at the side of the stage waving a set list. I got a photo – was this Mr Overby her manager and now husband?
She sang tracks from her new album ‘Ghost of Highway 20’, where she sings of her memories of the deep south and of those she’s lost. ‘Places you can’t let go of – they won’t let go of you.’
Her father was the poet, Miller Williams (who read at Bill Clinton’s inauguration). She may have found setting his words to music a challenge and she managed on his poem Compassion and on Dust. ‘You couldn’t cry if you wanted to.’
On any given night there would likely be certain songs on her set list, such as ‘Drunken Angel’, ‘Lake Charles’ and ‘Cold Day in Hell’. Another song she sang was entitled ‘Protection’, ‘Protection from the enemy of love, the enemy of rock n roll.’ And on ‘Find My Joy’ she sang, ‘You took my joy don’t mess with me.’
Buick 6, a rocking, high quality band, performed on stage with her. Guitarist Stuart Mathis took up mournful yet joyous melodies alongside dynamic drummer, Butch Norton, in his white cowboy hat, while bassist David Sutton racked up the energy. Often Lucinda turned to conduct the band. On a couple of songs there was just Lucinda on guitar.
For her encore she sang Robert Johnston’s Stop Breaking Down Blues ‘and JJ Cale’s song ‘Magnolia’.
She covered pathos, regret and spiritual questioning. Her voice packs a punch with its raspy, unforgettable earthiness and it soared and meandered through those blues songs. A Grammy award winner, she’s considered one of America’s top songwriters and I can understand why. Her songs , although new to me, registered and struck home right away. She’s a defiant lady, who has travelled many roads. As can be expected of an artist of her calibre, there were many stand out songs – there’s nothing subtle about Lucinda.
She was well supported by Canadian singer songwriter Jenny Ritter.
Review & Photos Pauline Keightley – pkimage.co.uk/
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