Like scotch and George Clooney, Lucinda Williams just keeps getting better with age. Last night the 58-year old queen of Americana enthralled a sold out 9:30 Club with nearly two hours of songs, charmingly awkward stage banter, and two encores.
Though she didn’t play any tracks from Happy Woman Blues or Ramblin’, the set list covered the majority of her career with songs that ranged from “I Just Wanted to See You So Bad” from her late ‘80s self-titled record and “Pineola” (from 1992’s Sweet Old World), to a handful of cuts from her newest album Blessed, released last month. Williams’ voice, which could peel paint, has that incredible ability to cut right to your heart, especially when paired with her introspective songwriting. But just because she’s introspective on songs like “Sweet Old World” and “Convince Me” doesn’t mean that she can’t tear it up when needed. Her band—especially guitarist Val McCallum of Jackshit—tore it up with some fantastic shredding on “Unsuffer Me” and the gritty “Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings” while Williams alternated between an acoustic Gibson and sparkly Telecaster.
Williams isn’t one for stage banter, refraining until an audience member begged “Talk to us, Lucinda!” She complied with a brief tale about watching Glenn Beck talk about “nuclear physics or something” before abandoning that train of thought and putting her guitar back on. She was infinitely more self-assured behind that guitar, belting out “Essence,” which may be the sexiest song ever recorded, and the innuendo-laden blues-influenced tune “Honeybee.”
Opening act Dylan LeBlanc came out to join Williams and band for the first encore, and stuck around for the second, which consisted of a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” (you know, that “stop, children, what’s that sound” song) that Williams sent out to the Wisconsin protestors with a few peace signs and a “Power to the people.” The crowd ate it up, chanting along to the chorus before heading back out into the rainy DC night.
I Just Wanted to See You So Bad
Fruits of My Labor
Still I Long for Your Kiss
I Don’t Know How You’re Livin’
Sweet Old World
Born to be Loved
Essence (seriously, this is the sexiest song ever)
Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings
Changed the Locks
Get Right with God
For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover)