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4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 13 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,865 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Are You Alright?
2. Mama You Sweet
3. Learning How To Live
4. Fancy Funeral
5. Unsuffer Me
6. Everything Has Changed
7. Come On
8. Where Is My Love?
9. Rescue
10. What If
11. Wrap My Head Around That
12. Words
13. West

Product Description

Product Description

With West, a disc that may well be Lucinda Williams' most personal work to date, the singer-songwriter channels both her emotion and restive creative energy into a startling set of songs that touch on both darkness and redemption. At turns strikingly spare and compellingly muscular, the album's 13 cuts attest to her willingness to stretch as a musician - and to put herself on the line as a chronicler of life. 'The songs deal with a chapter in my life there's a lot of pain and struggling, but it ends with a look towards the future.' Lucinda Williams.


Though the arrangements stray from Lucinda Williams's motherlode blend of blues, country, and folk, West may well be her best album. It is easily her most musically adventurous, and often her most lyrically inspired. Williams's singing has never sounded better, from the aching tenderness of "Where Is My Love?" to the ravaged catharsis of "Unsuffer Me." New York producer Hal Willner, who has worked with artists such as Marianne Faithful and Lou Reed, enlists the support of eclectic progressives like guitarist Bill Frisell, keyboardist Bob Burger, and violinist Jenny Scheinman, along with harmonies from the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, to weave a subtly rich sonic tapestry. Much of the material was inspired by the death of Williams's beloved mother ("Mama You Sweet," "Fancy Funeral") and the bitter breakup of a relationship (the jagged-edged emasculation of "Come On," the repetitive incantation of "Wrap My Head Around That"), though "Are You Alright?," "Learning How to Live," and "Everything Has Changed" could reflect the aftermath of both. Other highlights include "Rescue," with a languid subtlety and ambient pulse reminiscent of Beth Orton, and the dreamy, wistful title track. Where Williams's music has long cut close to the bone, the best of West slices right through it. --Don McLeese

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"West" is Lucinda's eighth studio album and simply quite brilliant. Nobody does that low-down dirty country blues like Lucinda, locking into a languid, aching groove and sending shivers down the spine of any living thing within range of that earthy vibrato.
Not that she is interested in staying within some country comfort zone, "Wrap My Head Around That" straying into uncharted territory.
It is not the first time she has slowed a lyric to spoken level, but this is a rhythmic bona fide country rap epic, a compelling narrative over nine minutes long, punctuated by snarling guitar chops and solos.

"Words" is another wise old tale written on that cracked parchment of a voice, wafting over an intoxicating melody.

She quotes her father, literature and poetry professor Miller Williams on West's sleeve notes: "You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone", and these songs are a product of an internal turmoil caused by her mother's death and an intense relationship that spectacularly crashed and burned.

Put brutally selfishly, Lucinda's loss is our gain, gut-wrenching songs like "Unsuffer Me" burn with the agony and ecstasy of "Essence", and "Fancy Funeral" has the rare power to reduce grown men and women to tears.
She has assembled a great band including Bill Frisell, Jim Keltner and her long-time guitarist, the superb Doug Petibone, who do ample justice to this scintillating set of songs.
I like it. You will be moved, to say the least.
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Format: Audio CD
Loss and loneliness are at the core of Lucinda Williams' eighth album, "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. 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", she says...

"West" is Williams's finest hour.

There are uncomfortable truths here, carried on easy-going melodies. "Fancy Funeral" is a wry look at death's priorities that flows as easily as drink.

Williams lost her mother and an errant lover as these songs were being written. These two truncated relationships fill "West" with exquisitely turned suffering; Williams and band provides the expert musical succour. Hal Wilner is the producer who organised this record's quietly unconventional sounds as Williams wanted them.

Equally raw and sensual is the unravelling blues of "Unsuffer Me", where Williams's ravaged voice begs: "Undo my logic/ Undo my fear" with an intensity that verges on the erotic.
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Format: Audio CD
Like her pervious albums, Lucinda Williams is very open and honest about her life, and isn't afraid to express her most personal feelings in her songs.

This album is probably her most confessional yet. The album deals heavily with love. But despite being released during Valentine's Day week, it is a very dark album. It deals with topics such as having anger at a lover, grief, and love that is lost. But it's not all bleak, as the album does also have tracks that deal with embracing the chance to change things. Williams is once again very open and honest with her emotions, and her frankness is in stark contrast to most of the cookie cutter music that gets released.

The music is also very good, and fits her vocals and tone perfectly. Some of the highlights include "Come On", "Learning how to Live", and "Wrap My Head Around That".

For anyone that likes to hear real emotion in their music, they certainly can't go wrong with this album.

The lyrics, combined with the music, make for an album that, while sad and dark at times, also shows that there are always rays of hope no matter how bleak things may seem.

Like flowers blooming through cracked city concrete, Lucinda Williams's music is a paradox: how can her songs, almost exclusively about death, loneliness and failure, be so beautiful and uplifting?

Nine albums in, Lucinda Williams has reached something approaching perfection.

Her voice traverses country smoothness to Marlboro-ravaged drawl with elegant ease while Bill Frissell's guitar twangs and howls and shimmers with otherworldly wonder. As befits the intimate nature of the lyrics, the arrangements get sparser as the album progresses - the barnstorming Are You Alright?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 202 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great album from Lucinda June 11 2008
By Dugan Nash - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Since her smash 1998 album "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road," Lucinda has refused to be a slave to the success of that album. While some fans and critics alike sometimes pan subsequent releases as "not as good" as Car Wheels, she presses on by continuing to explore new sounds and new directions in songwriting.

While Car Wheels had some diversity to it as well, it was a pretty cohesive sounding record, which is probably why it sold so well. Great songs with consistent sound and feel to them... The cold starkness of her followup ("Essence" from 2001) caught many offguard and had some misfires, but 2003's "World Without Tears" got her back on track and was a more successful merger of more diverse musical styles than she'd had on a single album before.

West is very much in that vein with songs that incorporate rock, blues, country and more and lyrics that range from longing ("Are You Alright?" "Where Is My Love?" and "Everything Has Changed") to life lessons ("Learning How To Live," "Rescue") to jabs at former lovers ("Come On" and "Wrap My Head Around That").

Lucinda's own take on the record is that "the songs deal with a chapter in my life and they definitely tell a story. 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 towards the future."

Because this album is so diverse, there are bound to be songs that most will like more than others, but all in all, this is pure Lucinda and has to be considered one of her better releases. Unlike past releases though, Lucinda worked with an outside producer and actually turned over a lot of control as to how the songs should sound. And while there are some interesting effects you won't have heard on past Lucinda records that add a certain freshness to some tracks (such as "Wrap My Head Around That"), the demo versions of some of the other songs reveal that at least a couple of these songs sounded better in demo form. One example of this would be the "Where Is My Love?" demo, which has a slower, more longing, jazz-blues feel to it than the finished version, which is more of a straight blues number that fails to accentuate the vocal as well as the demo version (note: 2 demo versions come on this Japanese import; others are available in various places as bonus discs, iTunes only tracks or promo-only cd's; I have them all and highly recommended them as they are definitely not the usual "half-finished" garbage version of songs you tend to hear on box sets, etc. These demos could easily have been on the album!).

Ultimately, if you're a Lucinda fan and have enjoyed past works, this one won't disappoint. If you're new to Lucinda and thinking of checking out what she's about, this is as solid a place to start as any, although the mega-seller "Car Wheels" seems to be the fans' #1 choice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucinda is . . . May 6 2007
By Anyse Joslin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"WEST" is a departure album for Lucinda. One can see her movement from "Gravel Roads" to "Essence" and then to "World Without Tears." She is maximizing current music and integrating it into her own. As she said in a concert, "talking in a song is not new. Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and many others have done this and it amazes me how ignorant people are of music history." Lucinda usues it well in "WEST," If anyone finds "WEST" out there for them, wait until her next album comes out! I heard her concert at the 920 Club in Washington, D.C. and there are many numbers in that concert that will be on her next album. You can go to NPR Radio and look for that concert and listen to it (2 hours 33 minutes live and uncut). I recorded it on my computer and have it in my iTunes as well as on an album. I am not going to talk about the songs themselves here as they are to be heard to be understood in light of Lucinda's entire musical history from "Washer Woman Blues" recorded on Folkways all the way through this album and her next one that we should hear soon. (She had 24 new songs ready in the D.C. concert for 2 albums.) If you are a Lucinda fan, you will not be disappointed. If you read the reviews, they all go back to her "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road"--her only album to raise her to the best songwriter in America and to her first Emmy award in music. That is not a fair way to assess this album!

Put it on, play it, and revel in what is Lucinda Williams. That's the best advice I can give you. You get her full range of emotions and wonderful images in her writing as well as her personal revelations about herself.

I can't wait until the next album comes out with "It's in the Knowing" and the beauty of love that in a way that only Lucinda can express.
2.0 out of 5 stars Tuneless Oct. 15 2016
By suzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this cd, I was not very familiar with this artist but a friend mentioned he liked her, it is too boring and tuneless,prefer country music she is not country more folk music i guess.I turned off,after 4 tracks had played. will not buy again any recordings by her. I just prefer country
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely July 19 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I started listening to Lucinda based on the albumn. I'm shocked to see her listening patterns when she wore this, as it is what I usually listen to. Her words are based on real life, and pop in to my head when I go through similar circumstances. "Mama, you're sweet", makes me cry.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poet or singer, singer or poet April 2 2007
By Richard Garriott Stejskal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My wife heard Lucinda Williams on NPR and asked for the "West" album for her birthday. I had only heard her on Letterman. I wasn't inspired by that performance. But, being a good husband, I got it for her.

While there is the occasional musical high spot, William's strength lies in her writing. I kept expecting/wanting Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou to break in. They didn't.

In balance I like this album. Williams is an interesting song writer and an even better poet. And, I can't help but love someone who calls her former boy friend a frog and gets me points at home.