Lucinda Williams has never been shy about being personal in her music and her latest confessional opus – West – is no exception. Almost a carbon copy of 2001’s Essence in melody and lyrics, West is a notebook of slow moving hymns that run through themes of both losing and finding love. Fortunately for Williams, she recently found her soulmate, but West plays as a lead-up to the big catch.
With a premier band featuring Bill Frissell, Ton Gariner (Bob Dylan) and Jim Keltner (drummer for just about everyone), Williams captures the essence of roots rock via heartbreak hotel. From the relaxed opener “Are You Alright,” to the ballads "Learning How To Live” and “Where Is My Love, Williams attacks her feelings with a sleepy node. However, it’s her kiss off numbers – “Come On” and “Wrap My Head Around That,” where she shows her scratchy side, particularly in the former, where she inadvertently yelps of not “coming” via a prior lover. “What If” and “Fancy Funeral” attack more whimsical themes of wasted cash and the pope chewing gum, but in the end, like her contemporary Neil Young, its Williams personal lyrics that makes one want to go West.