4 Songs, 13 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Lucinda Williams's first concert album may come as a shock those who know her only in twangy singer/songwriter mode. Recorded over a three-night stretch, the double-album Live at the Fillmore mines the dark, confessional vein of her last two studio albums with a sound that's more dirtied-up rock-and-roll than elegiac country. Her raw ache of a voice is at its most ragged here; she rasps and growls like Patti Smith and emotes like Janis Joplin against the rough-edged backing of a Crazy Horse-like band. The result may not endear her to new fans, but it's as intimate and intense as anything this most vulnerable of performers has recorded. Even the offbeat sequencing succeeds on its own terms: Fillmore starts with a whimper, not a bang, featuring almost a full album's worth of druggy, downbeat ballads. She shifts gears with a hard-rocking take on 1988's "Change the Locks," and doesn't let up the pace until the last three songs, by which time even a congenital downer like "World Without Tears" sounds almost redemptive after the emotional catharsis that's gone before.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Lucinda Williams's first concert album may come as a shock those who know her only in twangy singer/songwriter mode. Recorded over a three-night stretch, the double-album Live at the Fillmore mines the dark, confessional vein of her last two studio albums with a sound that's more dirtied-up rock-and-roll than elegiac country. Her raw ache of a voice is at its most ragged here; she rasps and growls like Patti Smith and emotes like Janis Joplin against the rough-edged backing of a Crazy Horse-like band. The result may not endear her to new fans, but it's as intimate and intense as anything this most vulnerable of performers has recorded. Even the offbeat sequencing succeeds on its own terms: Fillmore starts with a whimper, not a bang, featuring almost a full album's worth of druggy, downbeat ballads. She shifts gears with a hard-rocking take on 1988's "Change the Locks," and doesn't let up the pace until the last three songs, by which time even a congenital downer like "World Without Tears" sounds almost redemptive after the emotional catharsis that's gone before.

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