Lucinda Williams' Good Souls Better Angels: documenting a world in crisis

Revered US songwriter Lucinda Williams in visceral, impassioned form on 14th studio album Good Souls Better Angels

Lucinda Williams: Good Souls Better Angels
(Image: © Highway 20 Records)

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Lucinda Williams’ 14th studio effort chimes with the times like no other. 

Good Souls… documents a world in crisis from a number of standpoints, be it the self-explanatory Bad News Blues (peopled by “fools, thieves, clowns and hypocrites”), the social media toxicity of Shadows & Doubts or the seething Man Without A Soul//, which rips the rug from political chest-beaters everywhere, not just in the White House. 

Backed by her trusty Buick 6 - guitarist Stuart Mathis, bass player David Sutton and drummer ‘Butch’ Norton – Williams’ anger is reflected in the music, which tempers her primal electric blues and country with garagey punk and heaving rock.

Yet there’s also empathy, hope and an unyielding sense of humanity at work here. Big Black Train and When The Way Gets Dark both address the spectre of mental illness, while the experimental, hip-hop-ish Wakin’ Up charts her own real-life deliverance from an abusive relationship.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.