Master songwriter and storyteller Lucinda Williams has made her near-legendary career on raw, open-chested emotion. But over the course of her last couple of albums, including her most recent release, Blessed, Williams has seemingly found it easier to revel in the safer side of vulnerability. Credit that much to the fact that she's been happy in love for the last few years now.
Those worrying that a relationally secure Williams would equal a less emotive artist or worse, a duller version of the sharp edge previously wielded by her pen, there's no cause for concern. We've taken a close listen and a hard look at the last few albums she's released and, clearly, suffering, conflicted happiness and apparent bitterness are still there for the sharing.
Still, before the release of her 2008 album Little Honey, Williams was the go-to artist for tunes filled with a veritable bouquet of painful memories, heartbreaks and losses. Delivered in her sexy-but-kind-of-scary drawl, Williams' catalog actually covers a wide swath of pain. There are a number of tumultuous tunes that evolved not just out of tears derived from a break-up or even from anger brought forth from being done wrong. Williams' ability to weave a non-autobiographical tale is every bit as strong as her ability to personally bleed onto a lyric sheet. But you wouldn't know she hadn't lived every word by the way in which she brings it all together on record.
Many of Williams releases since 1998 have been introduced under the considerable and justifiable shadow of what many still consider to be her master-work and the album that earned her a Grammy, Car Wheels On a Gravel Road. To be certain, her records after that landmark release deserve to be appreciated every bit as much as their more famous sister-album.
With Williams hitting Fort Worth this weekend for a show at Billy Bob's Texas, it seems like now is as good a time as any to take a look at her ten most emotionally damaged songs. Hit the jump with us, and let's have ourselves a good cry.