Lucinda Williams Live at the Fillmore

Lucinda Williams Live at the Fillmore
Given her status as a reigning monarch of the roots rock scene, you can expect Lucinda Williams’ first ever live album to be well-received by her large constituency. She is not in fact the most confident and consistent performer out there, at times exhibiting awkwardness or nervousness at her shows. That is actually a rather endearing trait, though one not really evident on this double CD. It features the highlights of three 2003 shows at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco, and Lucinda and her ace band (led by guitarist Doug Pettibone) were clearly in fine form. The set selection leans heavily on material from her past three albums, with earlier favourites like "Sweet Old World” and "Passionate Kisses” (her most commercially successful song) being a mite conspicuous by their absence. That scarcely matters, given the inclusion of such gems as "Pineola,” "Joy,” "I Lost It” and "Essence,” and the always captivating sensuality of the Williams voice. Occasionally, her vocals do strain more than necessary (as on "Sweet Side” and "Changed the Locks”) but that is a minor quibble. She gets adventurous musically on "Righteously” and the somewhat shrill "Atonement,” but to these ears, it is her more direct country-folk-blues tunes that work best. Applause and between song banter are thankfully kept to a minimum, and Live at the Fillmore will definitely help tide Lucinda lovers over until the troubadour hits town again. (Lost Highway)