Thursday, December 8, 2022

98. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)

The album was a total clusterf—.
—Lucinda Williams

While trying to nab the album art for this one off of Wikipedia, I ran across the above quote from Williams.

Apparently most of the trouble with making about came with her creative conflicts with singer-songwriter / producer Steve Earle. Williams claims he was trying to push her and wrest too much control. Earle claims this might have been the cause because if so it was because he was bugging about having to head back out on tour himself. He says he's still unhappy with Williams vocals on this one. (Incidentally, Earle played a recurring character on the greatest TV drama ever, The Wire. That recurring character: a recovering heroin addict. He did such a good job. That's all I know about the man apart from his relationship with Williams, and I only learned that by reading some of the Wikipedia article for this album.)

I understand why Earle might have been unhappy with Williams' vocals. I listened to this one today, and to be honest, when it started, I considered turning it off. Her lyrics started off a little too warbly but then either I get used to her sound or she got better in the process.

There's good lyrics on the album. Overall, I like it. It sounds of it's time, but I don't think that's a bad thing. By "of its time," I mean it bears the mark of that late nineties / early aughts alternative sound, under the influence of the likes of Alanis Morrissette and others.

I don't consider Car Wheels on a Gravel Road a great album, but I'd listen to it again. I imagine it would grow on me with more listens.


  1. Her voice has always bothered me, and it seems to be getting worse with time. Sounds like she smokes too many barbiturate and rat poison laced cigarettes.