Ostensibly taking a cue from All Tomorrow’s Parties, popular concert series, Don’t Look Back, Lucinda Williams begins her five night stint at the El Rey, in West L.A., this week. Covering five of her records in their entirety – one each night. – Williams will translate some of her best studio moments, over the past two decades, into a live setting.
Williams, the daughter of esteemed poet laureate Miller Williams, got her start in the late ‘70s with pair of critically lauded traditional folk albums, released on the Smithsonian Folkways label. Creating a hybrid of country, rock, and roots music, before the term alt. country even existed, Williams broke onto the national scene with her 1989 self-titled debut which laid much of the groundwork for the soon to flourish ‘insurgent country” movement that would go on to be helmed, and championed, by Uncle Tupelo.
While all five nights at the El Rey are sure to be at capacity, it is the anticipation of Williams 1998 masterpiece “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” that has the most people talking. A Grammy award winning, genre classic, “Car Wheels’” sad, southern stories ultimately took three different cities and three different producers to get right.
Beginning in Austin, then moving the recordings to Nashville (with Steve Earle helming the controls), the sessions finally concluded in Los Angeles with producer Roy Bittan. It’s the L.A. sessions that became the final album as we know it today. Its marriage of southern gothic lyrical imagery, and atmosphere, paired with a good set of headphones, has the rare power to transport the listener to the deep rural south without stepping foot on a plane.
Tickets are still available for a number of the shows via the El Rey’s website. At the time of publishing, the performance of “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” is sold out. Also, for the first time ever, Lucinda is making the concerts available to her fans, immediately, after each show, on CD, to take home that same evening.
The El Rey Theatre
5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, Wednesday Sept. 5th-Sunday Sept. 9th
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