Lucinda Williams gave a nearly sold-out crowd at The Keswick Theatre a glorious slice of her musical history on Saturday night. There was the promised retelling of her self-titled third album released 25 years ago to begin the night. Those 12 songs depict Williams’ strengths in the country realm, with hints of rock and blues throughout. Williams and her band, featuring Stuart Mathis on guitar, expertly showcased the album, name-dropping those who covered such classics as “The Night’s Too Long” (Patty Loveless), “Changed the Locks” (Tom Petty), and “Passionate Kisses” (Mary Chapin Carpenter). But this was not a show about hubris; it was about her shifting contexts and fantastic contributions to the world of music. Her last 10 songs certainly had a greater edge of rock. This was seen most dramatically on “Joy” and the title track to her last album, 2011’s Blessed, which was sandwiched between two stunning covers in the encore: J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Beyond the musical genres, though, Williams truly showcased her poetic voice, as found in such works as “Lake Charles” and “Righteously,” where she put down her guitar to focus on the raplike delivery. The hints of her next album in the unreleased “Something Wicked This Way Comes” distilled her essence into three solid minutes, leaving the audience with the knowledge that so much more greatness is on the horizon. And as Williams, Mathis and company jammed within the confines of Young’s masterpiece to close out the night, Williams’ identity crystalized into that of a vessel for hope and courage in the greatest and toughest of times.
Lucinda Williams is playing the Keswick Theatre on Saturday, September 21. She’ll be celebrating the 25th anniversary release of her seminal alt-country classic self-titled 1988 album which included “Passionate Kisses,” “Crescent City,” “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad,” and “Changed The Locks” along with material from her other albums and fan favorites. Go here for tickets and more information about the show.
Saturday was a huge day at the 51st Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, kicking off with a WXPN Philly Local Showcase, continuing through a Steve Earle / Lucinda Williams collaboration and peaking with a rousing set by Little Feat. Check out a photo recap in the gallery above.
The lineup for the 51st annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, August 17th through August 19th at Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, near Schwenksville, PA.was announced today. Highlights include Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, Steve Earle and The Dukes, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Wanda Jackson, and Little Feat. Other performers include Strand Of Oaks, City & Colour, The Secret Sisters, The Holmes Brothers, Arborea, Chris Bathgate and more. Go here for tickets and more information about the weekend and the lineup. WXPN’s Gene Shay will once again host the festival.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th
John Hiatt + Indigo Girls, The Little Willies at World Cafe Live (6 p.m., $95–$190)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29th
It has been four years since Feist won our hearts with her Apple-approved, quirky tunes on her breakthrough album, The Reminder. Though her recently released follow up, Metals, still features the Canadian singer’s watery vocals and emphasis on guitar strumming, her latest album offers a more serious tone than the poppy cheer of songs like “1 2 3 4” and “I Feel It All.” Instead, Metals delves into more musical explosions that turn on the listener amidst the artist’s expected soft guitar picking. Tracks like “Comfort Me” introduce sudden chorus chanting after two minutes of quiet singing, while the aptly titled “A Commotion” features a fast-paced battle between strings and piano with the sudden shout of the song’s title by an angry-sounding group of men. Though much of Feist’s new material has a heavier flavor—both in lyrical content and through instrumental diversity—you can still bet she’d be able to sell a whole other batch iPod Nanos with her radio-friendly charm. Feist performs with Dawes, Lucinda Williams, and a surprise guest at World Cafe Live; tickets to the all-ages show are $100-$200. —Marielle Mondon
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30th
Campaign For The Music Party with Amos Lee + Rhett Miller, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks at World Cafe Live ($500 or larger donation to WXPN’s Campaign For The Music)
Lucinda Williams is performing tomorrow night in Allentown at the Allentown Symphony Hall, and she’ll also be at the Keswick on Saturday night. However, she also wanted to be a part of the World Cafe 20th Anniversary shows, so she is going to be making a special appearance playing an acoustic set on Saturday night at World Cafe Live, opening for Dawes and Feist. Having Lucinda be a part of this night is going to be amazing—but!—there’s still going to be another (as yet unannounced) special guest. (Stay tuned for details about that…)
Lucinda Williams is playing the Keswick Theatre on Saturday, October 29th. Tickets to the all-ages show go on sale this Monday, August 29th at 10 a.m. Tickets are $39.50-59.50. Click here for more information about the show. Below, a couple of Lucinda classics.