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As a rule, you can divide music into three categories — the kind that aims for the head, the kind that aims for the heart and the kind that aims for the hips. Forging two of those connections at once is pretty impressive, but connecting on all three? That’s a rare accomplishment indeed, one that Lucinda Williams manages on her 11th studio album, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone.
Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, the first release on Lucinda Williams’ own Highway 20 Records label, is easily the most ambitious creation in a body of work that’s long on ambition. Over the course of two discs, Williams leaves no emotional crevice left unexplored, drinking deeply from a well of inspiration that culminates with an offering that overflows with delta-infused country soul. Williams wrings every drop of affirmation from uplifting tracks like the empowering “Walk On” (a loping paean to life’s most sustaining aspects, the fleeting and the permanent) and every whit of dark beauty from songs such as “This Old Heartache” (a stark reminder that churning psychic waters can lurk beneath a placid surface).