Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lucinda Williams w' Heartless Bastards

Pitchfork may feel less than lukewarm about West, the new album, but Lucinda clearly feels it, and if you're lucky enough to hear the new songs laced among your many favorites like "Lake Charles," "Car Wheels," and "Crescent City," they set down like kin among kin, welcome even if they've been rangin' out in the wider world a bit. They pat the dog and rest on the porch just fine. Good stories with wise, direct images of personal heartbreak, loss, and spiritual growth. (The plague of emo-popularity is perhaps making collateral damage of the truly felt, and so I can imagine the Pitchfork reviewer prattling away skeptically after too much MCR and FOB, wishing for something cold and austere--say a Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army boxed set.) The crowd at Tallahassee's Moon, with its fabulous sound system, ate her set up with so much enthusiasm that she played for a full half hour or so after her formal set list concluded with a delicious version of "Joy" as the obligatory encore. She was lovely, her voice clear and curled like a cat around your ankles, and if she wasn't quite home, she knew she was very welcome. The backing band, featuring long-time touring lead guitarist Doug Pettitbone, was tight even if Lucinda had to restart a couple of songs that began off-key or out of tempo (Why else go to live shows?)

BTW: The audience, whether Lucinda knew it or not, was populated by literary stars from FSU and, what--white dwarfs?-- from VSU, including Bob Shacochis, James Kimbrough, Mark Winegartner, and a new colleague here, Deborah Hall.

Heartless Bastards opened, featuring the fearless, soaring vocals of Erika Wennerstrom. She could very well be the answer to the interesting rock what-if question, "What if Grace Slick had sung and played guitar in an alt country band?" She writes well and belts her songs out with passion. She's supported capably by Kevin Vaughn on drums Mike Lamping on the bass. We (Anna, my Amy, and Mike and Carla) were pleased that they accepted Mike's invitation to hang out at Waterworks after, so we chatted about her Dayton roots and Nate Farley while GBV played in the background. A sweet, long night away from Valdosta.

You already know Lucinda, so check out the band she hand picked to open for her.

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