|Lucinda Williams at Jannus Live, 10/19/11 (photo by Donald Gibson)|
“Side of the Road” and "Blue" – the former a plaintive lament; the latter a mournful masterpiece – were rendered with unmistakable poignancy and charm.
Williams premiered two as-yet-unreleased tracks, one original and one cover, both of them solid performances. Her own “Stowaway in Your Heart” featured a funky rhythm that in a way recalled "2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten," its lyrics bearing the refrain, "Thank you for giving me a place to hang around.” Then came an understated take on Bob Dylan's “Trying to Get to Heaven,” which Williams recently cut for a forthcoming Amnesty International project – like the 2007 set of John Lennon covers, Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur – that will include various artists covering his songs.
“This one goes out to those marching in the street, the 99 percent,” Williams said before an extended, rambunctious version of “Joy,” her fist held high in solidarity with the Occupy protests around the country. Two well-selected covers, "It's Not My Cross to Bear" (Allman Brothers) and audience favorite "For What It's Worth" (Buffalo Springfield) continued in the same defiant vein to close the show, but it was with the encore-opening title track to her most recent album, Blessed, that Williams made her most lasting, heartrending impression. "We were blessed by the forlorn, forsaken, and abused," she sang in its final verse, offering a silver lining of hope in what can often feel like a hopeless world.
(First published at Blogcritics.)