Rolling Stone - p.744 stars out of 5
-- "The opener, 'Are You All right?' is one of her greatest songs ever, and exemplifies how powerful the new method can be....Williams remains a premier artist."
Rolling Stone - p.110
Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Top Albums of the Year 2007" -- "[T[he sound of one of rock's great songwriters getting her demons out, and still challenging her fans."
Spin - p.893.5 stars out of 5
-- "Producer Hal Willner weaves organ and violins through stunning vignettes like 'Rescue'..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.75
"Rock's best female singer easily veers from city-slicker-smooth alto sweetness to ravaged Louisianan drawl." -- Grade: A
Q - p.1164 stars out of 5
-- "Her musical backdrop is as sparse and dry as a desert highway, zeroing your focus in on that smoky, bruised voice and her lyrics, as tremendous as ever."
Uncut - p.723 stars out of 5
-- "Williams give rich voice to the complexities of middle-aged femininity....She's a great singer, with a searingly bluesy edge to her voice."
CMJ - p.42
"[T]he lyrics are uniformly poignant and poetic. The songs about misguided love are perhaps the most compelling."
Q (Magazine) - p.73Ranked #45
in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "Here, loss, lust and longing combine in a dark, confessional world that resigns her peers to blithe imitation."
Personnel: Lucinda Williams (vocals, acoustic guitar); Lucinda Williams; Bill Frisell (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Robert Brophy (viola); Rob Burger (accordion, piano, prepared piano, electric piano, Wurlitzer piano, organ, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ); Hal Willner (sampler, turntables); Gary Louris, Gia Ciambotti (background vocals); Doug Pettibone (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar); Jenny Scheinman (violin); Timothy Loo (cello); Tony Garnier (double bass, electric bass); Jim Keltner (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Eric Liljestrand.
Recording information: The Village, West Los Angeles, CA.
Author: Miller Williams.
Photographers: Margaret Malandruccolo; Alan Messer.
Like Billie Holiday, John Lee Hooker, and Kurt Cobain, among others, Lucinda Williams is an artist with that certain difficult-to-define quality, the ability to channel the collective soul through a voice that is intimate, personal, and entirely her own. WEST, Williams's 2007 release, bears all the hallmarks of her best work: excellent songcraft, poetically tough lyrics, and her angel-on-morphine voice. As an album, it is her most consistent and appealing since 1998's CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD.
Williams's seemingly odd choice to work with mainstream pop producer Hal Willner works wonderfully. Willner built the album up from Williams's demo recordings, keeping her original vocals, and creating a sound that shimmers but never loses sight of the music's tough rootsiness. Yet it's Williams's searingly honest songwriting and achingly beautiful performances that make WEST so brilliant. Whether it's gutbucket blues ("Wrap My Head Around That"), bittersweet lilt ("Learning How To Live"), or harrowing confessionals ("Unsuffer Me"), Williams knows how to scrape the bottom of the human heart and put it into song. The result is one of the finest albums in her already sterling discography.