Lucinda Williams has made the comeback album of the year with her Stories From A Rock N Roll Heart.
Like all of us, Lucinda has had a tough few years, dealing with Covid, friends passing away and age taking its toll. But on November 17th, 2020, Williams suffered a stroke at her home in Nashville. It slowed her down, but it didn’t stop her.
In fact, after hearing this new album, made completely post-stroke, one might say she’s never sounded better.
When reviewing some albums, multiple plays are needed to dig in and appreciate what the artist is trying to say.
Not so with Stories From A Rock N Roll Heart. The title says it all, this is a record that offers up immediate gratification.
This is very much a rock and roll record. And though Lucinda cannot currently play guitar (due to the after-effects of the stroke) she’s got a few folks on board who can…touring guitar slinger Stuart Mathis and long-time Lucinda friend and collaborator Doug Pettibone.
Just listen to them roar into action on opening track, Let’s Get The Band Back Together with a nasty Stones/Faces guitar lick, some sassy B3 from Reese Wynans and a big, rumbling bass line courtesy Steve Mackey. And there’s plenty of rock & roll swagger in drummer Steve Ferrone’s back beat.
So the band’s great, but how are the songs?
Lucinda has put together an ace team including husband/manager Tom Overby, road manager Travis Stevens and New York rocker Jesse Malin.
Sadly Malin, who co-wrote three of the album’s best tunes, just suffered a spinal cord stroke last month and is now paralyzed from the waist down…and he’s only 56.
So, yes, times are tough, which is why you need to hear this record.
Hopefully, you’ve already heard track two. New York Comeback was released as a single in April and features Bruce Springsteen on call and response vocals with Lucinda, a match made in heaven.
The other Jesse Malin co-penned tune is Jukebox, a heart-wrenching beauty about a girl, a bar and a jukebox. It features my favourite lyric on the album:
They got an old Wurlitzer, it’s a work of art: And I’ve got a handful of quarters
And I know how to ease my lonely heart: with Patsy Cline and Muddy Waters
The ghost of Tom Petty is conjured up on Stolen Moments and so it that of Bob Stinson, the late, great Replacement, on Hum’s Liquor.
The dead are certainly not forgotten, but Stories From A Rock N Roll Heart is music for the living whether you’re 20 or 70, the redemptive power of music is here and like the last song on the record says, it’s Never Gonna Fade Away.
Stories From A Rock N Roll Heart is released June 30th.
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