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Thursday 15 April 2010


Listen Up

19th November 2008

CD Review: Lucinda Williams - Little Honey

Posted by: Kitten Power

little-honey-littler.jpg 

I’m a late convert to country music, a genre which was prematurely destroyed for me when I was forced to line dance to “Achy Breaky Heart” in front of a hall full of people as a school kid.

But in my early adulthood, the discoveries of country-folk-rock crossover artists like Martha Wainwright, Ryan Adams and Wilco have made me realise that country music is so much more than cliché whining pro-American stupidity ballads.

I have taken a new country journey with Lucinda Williams, a woman whose break out self-titled album was released in 1988, which is just a few years before I was line-dancing to Billy Ray Cyrus.

The Louisiana-born musician was named America’s best songwriter by TIME Magazine in 2002, but critics say her acclaim has never been matched by with as much commercial success.

Her new album Little Honey is my first real taste of the now 55-year-old, but surprisingly its tracks sound instantly familiar - but not in that irritatingly catchy pop way - it’s a warm recognition.

Rolling Stone best describes the opening track Real Love: “amid boogie-rock riffing, she alternately pledges her heart to a guy, a girl and an electric guitar”.

Williams’ voice has a sweet-raspy depth that sounds refined by age, which croons over raucous guitars and heady drums.

She brings the pace down for beautiful mellow tracks like Little Rock Star, where she questions flailing young music celebrities in the press, seemingly inspired by the likes of Amy Winehouse.

“Will you ever know happiness little rock star?  Is you death wish stronger than you are?”

The pace of Little Honey varies, from gentle ballads to suddenly roaring out of the stereo with tracks such as Honey Bee like a rock and roll tigress.

Listening to Lucinda Williams makes me want to gallop into summer wearing an attitude and a cowboy hat . . . but I think there’s only room for one lesbian cowgirl in Auckland, a role council activist Lisa Prager beat me to a long time ago (and I sure wouldn’t want to take her on in a duel).

Williams in an artist whose back catalogue I look forward to exploring further.

Lucinda Williams, Little Honey- out now, also on vinyl.

Tags: Music

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