greg leisz

Through decades of performing and songwriting, Lucinda Williams has developed a strong, personal style of rhythm guitar that pumps blood through the heart of her albums and shows. Photo by David McClister

Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz unite with the songwriting giant to create a haunting, cosmic folk-rock guitar masterpiece built atop her own acoustic 6-string “launching pad.”

Most artists pan for gold when they record, but only a few consistently find it. Lucinda Williams has been a remarkably successful prospector since she made her landmark 1998 album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. The daughter of poet Miller Williams had displayed her own gift for telling sharp-eyed stories since releasing her second album and first collection of all-original songs, 1980’s Happy Woman Blues, but with Car Wheels, she arrived at the crossroads of country, blues, rock, and folk that she’d been driving toward—in Cadillac style.

Since then, Williams has polished her articulate gemstones of song even more, cutting six albums through 2014 that cracked the Top 30 and established her as the queen of the song-driven, roots-based genre dubbed Americana. She’s also perfected a rhythm guitar style that’s ideal for the tension and release at the core of her powerful, buttermilk vocal performances. Syllables melt in her mouth, thanks in part to her Louisiana drawl, but they can also sting like the notes of a Stratocaster or a trumpet. And her guitar, which she beats like a thief, propels and lays back with similar flexibility and force. It’s not always metronomic, but exactly where it needs to be.

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