January 16, 2007

Fuel For The Open Road: Winners of the Lucinda contest & double driving mix

You guys selected some wonderful songs for my Lucinda Williams CD giveaway contest, which asked for tunes that you like to listen to out on the open road.

I’ve scouted out the songs I didn’t have, listened to every one you listed, and compiled my favorites into a double-disc driving mix. I had a hard time narrowing it down onto two discs – thank you to everyone who suggested something.

There were several that I thought I wouldn’t like but did — your suggestions combine for an unstoppable mix with a distinctly “dusty pick-up truck” feel, apropos for a long roadtrip. Giving in to the seduction of the great West, some of this stuff is quite a bit more twangy than anything else you’re ever likely to hear on this site, but the mood grabbed me and I went with it. And it works for the occasion.

. . . pop this baby in, each set fits onto a CD. Literally makes my fingers twitch towards the car keys.


Life On A Chain – Pete Yorn
Another Travelin’ Song – Bright Eyes
On The Hood – Matt Mays and El Torpedo
Life Is A Highway – Tom Cochrane
Fill Me Up – Shawn Colvin
Drown – Son Volt
Let It Ride – Ryan Adams
Misty Mountain Hop – Led Zeppelin
Monster Ballads – Josh Ritter
Beautiful Disaster – Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Indiana Wants Me – R Dean Taylor
Right in Time – Lucinda Williams
Train To Jackson – Jeffrey Foucault
The Golden Age – Beck
Where There’s A Road – Robbie Fulks
Learning To Fly – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Wiser Time – The Black Crowes
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen


Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
Blue Canoe – Blue Mountain
Around The Bend – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Highway 101 – Social Distortion
My Winding Wheel – Ryan Adams
Long Vermont Roads – Magnetic Fields
I Want To Be Your Driver (Chuck Berry cover) – Nic Armstrong
Counterclockwise – Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Finest Worksong – R.E.M.
Golden – My Morning Jacket
Revelator – Gillian Welch
Since I’ve Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin
Gone Wanderin’ – Jackie Greene
Picture Book – The Kinks
Paris, Texas – Ry Cooder
Going Back To Georgia – Nanci Griffith & Adam Duritz
Walking In Memphis – Marc Cohn
Pink Moon – Nick Drake
Midway Park – Whiskeytown
Rearviewmirror – Pearl Jam

Yeah, last one on there is all me. Best driving song ever, in my book. And I threw in a few other old friends into the mix from my archives.

Here are my four randomly-selected winners of that contest, literally drawn from a hat (okay, bowl) by my charming husband, who loved having all that power:

Leo M.

Congrats to the 4 winners! Please email me your address and I’ll mail out your copy of the re-released Car Wheels On A Gravel Road once we thaw out here. Y’all should be proud of the mix you guys assembled. Let’s all try not to get a speeding ticket.

January 7, 2007

Quadruple giveaway: Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (re-release)

Although Lucinda Williams is quite a bit twangier than my usual listening fare, her music is resilient, burnished, and strong. No precious “awwwww” lyrics, no Jesus Take The Wheel or Beaches of Cheyenne here, this is just solid backporch bluegrass country that always makes me feel a little bit fiercer when I listen to it.

Her 1998 album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road was her masterpiece, a Grammy-award winner for Best Contemporary Folk Album that needs to be listened to on the open road as the title would imply. It’s a thoughtful (but rollicking, and sometimes bitter) collection that traverses the grounds of loss, lust, and stories from a thousand little roadside bars across America.

Her best just got better recently with the re-release of Car Wheels On A Gravel Road as a remastered double disc with 3 previously unreleased songs added to the main album, and a second disc of live performances from WXPN Radio in Philly.

Thanks my pal Bruce from Some Velvet Blog (via Aquarium Drunkard), there’s a little info on that second set to share. Bruce says, “Here’s a cool back story. The live concert was from a WXPN summer festival that I booked back when Lu toured on that album. What happened was the A&R guy who did the re-issue wanted to do something cool and they were going through the vaults and found a box with these tapes in them and all the box said was Lucinda-WXPN. So, they threw it on, and it was this concert. There was no label, nothing. So the A&R guy asked around about WXPN which led to a call to me. We did the multi-track recording of the show, but never actually did anything and it sat on a shelf until I said they could go for it and use it.” Glad you did, Bruce. What a find.

Now, I have 4 of these double CDs to give away if you wanted to check out the re-release, or if you’ve never heard her but always meant to. To enter to win one, here’s the gauntlet:

Car Wheels On A Gravel Road is an album to be listened to on the highway, preferably a dusty one across a desert somewhere, with the windows down (and I would definitely recommend with no air conditioning). Leave a comment to tell me one song that you personally like to listen to out on the wide open road.

Winners for this one will be chosen at random from all coherent, contactable entrants.

Check out this jumpin’ blues song, one of the unreleased tracks from the main disc:

Down The Big Road Blues – Lucinda Williams

And I just flat-out love this song. As I wrote about it last year, “There is some *delicious* slide guitar throughout in the vein of Ben Harper, and a leg-slappin’, toe-tappin’ beat. Stand up and listen to this and if you can be still throughout, then I think your rhythm-appreciator-thingie is broken.”

Can’t Let Go – Lucinda Williams

And a sample of the great live set from WXPN (Bruce is just rolling in the good music over there in the vaults); I’ve thought before that the title of this song and the way it’s written may make it sound cornier and more cliched than the song itself deserves. The lyrics of this song are so dang evocative and sad and give me the chills. Junebug vs. hurricane indeed.

2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten – Lucinda Williams

PS – Lucinda has a new album coming out on Lost Highway on 2/13/2007. Called West, you can stream audio over on the Lost Highway site.

January 27, 2006

Lucinda Williams

This is really not a musician birthday blog, but the ever-changing celebrants offer a good reason to rotate who I feature. Yesterday was Lucinda Williams‘ birthday and I meant to post this but then I got lazy, what with all the uploading, the picture-finding. Whew. So today, here is a festive salute to the “agony aunt” of today’s alt-country/americana blues sound.

I am not super-familiar yet with her work, I think I downloaded this track off someone’s celebrity playlist on iTunes. Can’t recall. But she is really great, and this track showcases her unique voice and rough gravelly sound. It is a pitch-perfect, rollicking wrencher about having a bit of trouble recognizing the end of a relationship, off her perfectly-descriptively titled 1998 album Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. As one reviewer says of the album, “the entire Deep South is reduced to a sleepy small town filled with ex-lovers, dive bars, and endless gravel roads.”

There is some *delicious* slide guitar (I think you have to say gee-tar with this one) throughout in the vein of Ben Harper, and a leg-slappin’, toe-tappin’ beat. Stand up and listen to this and if you can be still throughout, then I think your rhythm-appreciator-thingie is broken.

Can’t Let Go” – Lucinda Williams

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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