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Country Soul: 12 Things You Need to Know About Lucinda Williams’ Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Lucinda Williams
Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone
Highway 20 Records

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1. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone is Lucinda Williams’ first double album, and it features 20 tracks, which clock in at almost two hours of music (!).

2. The album (her 11th)  marks Williams’ first release on her new label, Highway 20 Records, which gives her – for the first time – complete control over the creative process.

 

3. Williams intends to sign other artists to Highway 20 Records.

4. The first song – the stripped-down and mournful “Compassion” – is based on a poem by Williams’ father, the poet Miller Williams.

 

5. Now 84 years old, Miller Williams read at President Clinton’s 1997 inauguration, published over 25 books, won many awards for his poetry, and taught for many years at the University of Arkansas.

6. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone features a host of stellar backing musicians, including Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher (of Elvis Costello’s Imposters), Ian McLagan (Faces), Greg Leisz, Stuart Mathis (Wallflowers), Bill Frisell, Tony Joe White, and Jakob Dylan (Wallflowers). Dylan lends his voice to the song, “It’s Gonna Rain.”

7. The album’s final song is a 9:51 version of J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia,” a song she’s been singing live since the 1970s.

8. Williams produced the album herself, with the assistance of Leisz and Tom Overbay.

9. Loose and spacious, the album has more a of a marked soul influence than Williams’ previous works, perhaps owing to the influence of the Pete Thomas-Davey Faragher rhythm section. Williams has called Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, “country soul.

 

10. Songs such as “Compassion,” “When I Look at the World,” “East Side of Town,” “West Memphis,” “Foolishness,” and “Everything But the Truth” perhaps make Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone Williams’ most political album to date.

11. “Protection” is one of the catchiest and best songs of Williams’ career, a straight-up classic and a great example of “country soul.”

 

12. Williams wrote all the songs, except where noted.

Disc 1

  1. “Compassion” (with Miller Williams)
  2. “Protection”
  3. “Burning Bridges”
  4. “East Side of Town”
  5. “West Memphis”
  6. “Cold Day in Hell”
  7. “Foolishness”
  8. “Wrong Number”
  9. “Stand Right by Each Other”
  10. “It’s Gonna Rain”

 

Disc 2

  1. “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
  2. “Big Mess”
  3. “When I Look at the World”
  4. “Walk On”
  5. “Temporary Nature (Of Any Precious Thing)
  6. “Everything But the Truth”
  7. “This Old Heartache”
  8. “Stowaway in Your Heart”
  9. “One More Day”
  10. “Magnolia” (J.J. Cale)