REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD
Musicians have long used songwriting as a form of therapy, but rarely as eloquently as Lucinda Williams. On the wistful "Words," one of many highlights of her eighth studio disc, she sings about the cathartic powers of "the paper and the pen" as she writes off a relationship: "My words enjoy the feel of the paper/Better than mingling with your consonants/Once they get going, they never waver/And they slip in between your ifs, ands and buts." Such pure poetry helps make West–on which Williams works through both a failed love affair and the death of her mother–the first great CD of 2007. But the genius of Williams lies in her ability to be both poetic and plainspoken. Just as she cautions against spending too much money on a "Fancy Funeral," she doesn't dress up her rootsy tunes in flowery language. Which helps her get right to the bluesy heart of a song like "Unsuffer Me."
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Unsuffer Me"