THE COX CAPITOL THEATRE presents…
Doors at 7 p.m. / Show at 8 p.m.
$125 Floor Table Seating (per seat)
$100 Floor Cocktail Seating
$75 Box Seating
$50 Lower Balcony Seating
$30 Upper Balcony Seating
It’s not all that hard to find an artist who’s capable of offering a guided tour of life’s dark clouds – nor is it rare to come into contact with one who can hone in on the silver lining. But the ability to do both with equal grace, well, that’s an altogether rarer gift – and it’s one that Lucinda Williams displays with remarkable élan on her latest Lost Highway album, Blessed.
Blessed, recorded at the end of what Williams calls “a really big writing streak that gave me enough to make two albums,” brings those textures to play in some of the most straightforward songs she’s ever written. While it’s not a concept album as such, Blessed – recorded with producer Don Was – brings together a dozen masterfully-crafted pieces that fall into place beautifully, their welcoming sonic tenor offering an ideal foil for the conversational narrative that runs through the dozen short stories – tales that take in plenty of topical territory, but invariably end up offering the listener a sense of affirmation.
The expanse of Williams’ palette is gradually revealed over the course of Blessed, a collection that unfolds in an origami-like fashion. The gentle plaint of “I Don’t Know How You’re Livin” – a stripped-to-the-bone track on which she uses the appealingly weathered edges to carve out a loving message of hope – gives way to the pedal-steel laced “Copenhagen”, a tender requiem for her late manager.
While that air of mortality imbues a few of Blessed’s songs – notably the fiercely slashing “Seeing Black,” on which Williams cuts through a hail of angry guitars that come courtesy of Elvis Costello, who makes a rare non-vocal cameo, with stark, poignant questions to a friend who chose to end his life, the album offers as many looks at the light at the end of the tunnel as it does glances into the abyss. “Kiss Like Your Kiss” exudes a sassy sensuality, while the closing “Sweet Love” is, quite simply, an aural incarnation of that title, pure, warm and sweet.
By the time Blessed’s final notes resound, that hope will not only be clear, it’s likely to be passed on to the listener – paid forward in the most touching way.