Wednesday, June 1, 2011

304. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road- Play that country music white girl.

Album: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Artist: Lucinda Williams
Genre: Country
Year: 1998


  1. Right in Time
  2. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  3. 2 Kool 2 Be 4-gotten
  4. Drunken Angel
  5. Concrete and Barbed Wire
  6. Lake Charles
  7. Can’t Let Go
  8. I Lost It
  9. Metal Firecracker
  10. Greenville
  11. Still I Long For Your Kiss
  12. Joy
  13. Jackson

There aren’t many women on the top 500 and there aren’t that many country albums either. A disproportionate amount of the country entries are by female artists which either says country is a more acceptable genre for women to be part of, or country is more accessible when sung by a woman... or possibly that I spend too much time obsessing over this list and should get out more. Either way 304 sees a woman singing country songs.

There are people out there who aren’t sure how to categorize this album but most people are prepared to call it country. I suspect a lot of this has to do with the fact that Williams sings with a definite Southern accent. If it has an accent that stepped out of somewhere just north of the Mexican border it’s country. A trained soprano could record an entire album of famous arias but if her voice had a definite twang it would be called country even if it was accompanied by a full orchestra.

Williams style of Country is blues-heavy and whine-light. She’s not the sort to lament the absence of her man over the slow howl of a pedal steel guitar. She’s more prone to sounding world weary while a great band cooks behind her. She’s still happy to rely on some country music staple cliches (name-dropping southern locations and talking about beer a lot) but she’s clearly her own woman when it comes to stamping out some kind of style.

I found myself enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. It sounds okay on my home stereo but I imagine I’d love hearing it a bar somewhere in the South where it truly belongs.

Influenced by: Women of country with attitude
Influenced: Later women of country with attitude

Highlight: The title track
Lowlight: Still I long for your kiss

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: “This recording was repetitive, flat, and monotonous. The bottem line, it just isn't country.”

-I love the fact that something being repetitive flat or monotonous means it couldn’t possibly be country.

So does Lucinda make you reassess everything you thought about Country or does she totally reaffirm it? Let me know below.

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