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CD REVIEW

Lucinda Williams: This Sweet Old World

by Mike Ayers on October 11, 2017


While artists performing classic albums from their back catalogs has been a concert staple this century, the notion of rerecording an entire record from one’s past with new arrangements isn’t really a practice that many embark on. But Lucinda Williams has never been an artist that follows any sort of rule book, and, for her fourth album this decade, she’s looking back at her 1992 release Sweet Old World with a new sound and 25 years of experience in tow. If you compare the two side-by-side, then the first thing you’ll notice is that Williams’ early days were more steeped in a country-pop approach. And there’s nothing wrong with that; she was hustling a certain way back then. On This Sweet Old World, her voice is noticeably raw and weathered; songs like the title track and “Sidewalks of the City” feel more dire now, whereas before they might have lacked a certain immediacy. In the past several years, Williams has really honed in on a primal blues sound, and these new versions continue down that path. As a bonus, she added four more songs from that era: “Factory Blues” and “Dark Side of Life” along with two covers, John Anderson’s “Wild and Blue” and a John Leventhal/Jim Lauderdale penned number “What You Don’t Know.”
Authors: Mike Ayers
Artist: Lucinda Williams
Album: This Sweet Old World
Label: HIGHWAY 20/ THIRTY TIGERS