Lucinda Williams rocks out of misfortune with Bruce Springsteen and friends

After a stroke took away her ability to play guitar and her house was taken by a tornado, Lucinda Williams's Rock N Roll Heart brings light to the darkness

Lucinda Williams: Rock N Roll Heart cover art
(Image: © Highway 20 Records)

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A stroke has taken away Lucinda Williams’s ability to play guitar, and a tornado took her house away, and yet this record is a beautiful act of affirmation. 

Long-standing friend Jesse Malin co-writes alongside Williams and producer-husband Tom Overby. She is joined on two tracks by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, putting in the keen support. 

Songs like New York Comeback are joyous and undaunted. Her voice retains all the character and grit, and on Jukebox she yearns for the postpandemic, post-recovery charm of the local Wurlitzer machine stacked with Patsy Cline and Muddy Waters records. 

There’s a lyrical salute to Tom Petty on Stolen Moments, and The Replacements get their dues on Hum’s Liquor, a remembrance of Bob Stinson and his destructive habits, on which brother/bassistTommy Stinson sings backing vocals. This album is all heart, the camaraderie is immense, and Williams assures listeners that it’s not dark yet.

Stuart Bailie

Stuart Bailie is a journalist and broadcaster based in Belfast. He is the editor of the quarterly Dig With It magazine, and his work has appeared in NME, Mojo, Uncut, Q, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Mirror, The Irish Times, Classic Rock and Hot Press. He was Assistant Editor of NME from 1992 to 1996 and is the author of Philip Lynott: The Ballad of the Thin Man, Trouble Songs: Music and Conflict In Northern Ireland, and 75 Van Songs: Into the Van Morrison Songbook.