Here’s a long and shitty review of this new fantastic album, but I wrote it rather quickly, so for a quick sum up – listen to this album now:
A new Lucinda Williams album is always a cause for celebration, it’s even a national holiday in some countries (that’s not true). Blessed is her first album since the lackluster (compared to the rest of her catalogue) Little Honey three years ago (and four years since West, her best release since Car Wheels…until now) and it starts off rocking with a tale about an ex-love on “Buttercup,” setting the album off like a rocket into space. Lucinda’s voice sounds a little different after all of these years, it sounds like her voice has gotten raspy, maybe she is singing with an accent, or maybe that is just her voice now. She has been doing this for decades and she’s still on top of her game, which puts her heads and tails above everyone else. Her vocals are more country than folk, though the music would lead you to believe otherwise. Lucinda’s brought along some friends again too help her out, not that she has ever needed it. Blessed is one of the most diverse albums of her career, each song sounds profoundly different and they cover a range of emotions and experiences. There is the lamenting over lost friends in “Seeing Black” (for Vic Chesnutt) and “Copenhagen” (for Frank Callari), acceptance in “Awakening,” the spiritual successor to “Atonement” (from World without Tears eight years ago), and “I Don’t Know How You’re Living”, celebration, humility, honesty, war time stories and stories from home. Then again Lucinda’s song writing has never been predicable while maintaining a cozy feel . And for all you Elvis Costello fans out there the man himself makes an unforgettable appearance with a howling guitar on “Seeing Black” that has to be heard to be believed.
Along with the 2xLP set comes the two CD deluxe edition, which contains the album in its entirety and the Kitchen Tapes, which are Lucinda playing the album solo in her kitchen (where she apparently wrote a lot of the album). While these solo acoustic takes aren’t as rocking they are definitely worth a listen to any fan of Lucinda’s. It is rare to hear her so raw anymore, just from the solitude you can feel from her alone on these demos brings forward so man more emotions and takes some songs to completely new territory.
If you love Lucinda Williams like I do then this is a no brainer, Blessed is easily her best album since West and possibly since Car Wheels. If you are even a little interested in country or folk and you haven’t listened to the brilliant Lucinda Williams before then what the hell are you waiting for? Scratch that, if you are interested in music at all, what are you waiting for?