Th­ese are the weep­ing songs

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - JOE BREEN

hon­est in ev­ery­thing she does.

Wil­liams has said that some of the tracks were recorded at the same ses­sions as her ex­cel­lent Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone dou­ble al­bum, this new col­lec­tion es­tab­lishes its own im­mer­sive iden­tity from the first track. Dust, like Spirit, is a poem by her late father, cel­e­brated poet Miller Wil­liams, which she has set to a ring­ing, haunt­ing melody. The open­ing lines could be about Miller’s daugh­ter: “There is a sad­ness so deep/the sun seems black . . . ”

Equally, the beau­ti­fully som­bre Death Came, Doors of Heaven and ele­giac closer Faith and Grace of­fer a strong ar­gu­ment that the whole al­bum is a daugh­ter’s farewell to a father, with all the at­ten­dant tan­gled emo­tions. His death last Jan­uary also prompts rem­i­nis­cence. Louisiana and the ti­tle track both trace the ge­og­ra­phy of the past in grace­ful, hyp­notic nar­ra­tives, in which events, peo­ple and places co-min­gle. In the bruised I Know All About It, there is a strong sense of a woman who has seen enough: “I know all about the pain and all that jazz”, Wil­liams sings dis­mis­sively.

Through­out, her voice is a shaman­is­tic, bluesy south­ern drawl that in­fuses the lyrics with a sense of real pain and loss – or a sooth­ing balm, as on Can’t Close the Door on Love and the pitch­per­fect Place in My Heart.

Gui­tarists Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz help set the mood. Still, it is Wil­liams’s reg­u­lar back­ing band, Buick6 – drum­mer Butch Nor­ton, bassist David Sut­ton and par­tic­u­larly gui­tarist Stu­art Mathis – who, as at her re­cent won­der­ful Dublin con­cert, ren­der mu­sic that is richly tex­tured, laced with gui­tar flour­ishes and tonal shades. Re­mark­able.

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