Wes Orshoski, N.Y.
Loss and loneliness are at the core of Lucinda Williams' eighth album, "West," slated to be released Feb. 13 via Lost Highway.
The disc finds the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter coping with another painful breakup and the passing of her mother, whom she reminisces in songs like "Mama You Sweet" and "Fancy Funeral." In such songs as "Come On," "Learning How to Live" and "Everything Has Changed," the Grammy winner again deals with heartbreak.
"The songs deal with a chapter in my life and they definitely tell a story," Williams tells Billboard.com. "It's probably been the most prolific time in my life as a writer. I'd been through so many changes -- my mother's death and a very tumultuous relationship that ended badly -- so obviously there's a lot of pain and struggling, but it ends with a look toward the future."
Featuring the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, celebrated drummer Jim Keltner, longtime Dylan bassist Tony Garnier (both of whom played on her "Essence" disc) and Williams' longtime guitarist Doug Petibone, "West" was co-produced by Williams and Hal Willner, whose credits include Elvis Costello, Lou Reed and Bill Frisell, who also guests on the "West."
The album's 13 songs together form a largely down-tempo disc, but "West" doesn't only find Williams in a somber mood. "Mama You Sweet" is upbeat and "Come On" is a nasty, almost raunchy kiss-off, musically akin to "Atonement" from her last album, 2003's "World Without Tears."
She injects doses of hope and light in tracks like "What If," in which she imagines a world where the president wears pink and a prostitute is a queen.
"I get tired of people looking at my songs and feeling that they're all sad and dark," she says. "There's more to them than that. Some people might read Flannery O'Connor and see that as simply dark -- and it is dark and disturbing --- but there's a philosophical aspect, even a comical aspect to it as well. I think that's all there on this album. It's a full circle, like I've come through a metamorphosis." http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/..._id=1003494848