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BEING THERE: Lucinda Williams @ The Keswick

Photo by PETE TROSHAK

Lucinda Williams planted some seeds of the Alt-Country movement with her influential 1988 self-titled debut album. Williams and her band rolled into the Keswick Theatre on Saturday night to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of that album and her future. She took the stage dressed in a tight black outfit and leather boots and kicked the show off with a sunny but yearning “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad.” The rest of her debut was played in order, sounding even better than the original versions due to some stellar guitar work from Wallflowers’ guitarist Stuart Mathis. Williams introduced “Like A Rose” as one of her favorites from the album and graced a beautiful version of the song with some delicate fingerpicking guitar of her own. Wearing a punkish sneer, Williams and her band delivered a fierce, runaway train version of “Change The Locks” that rocked the intimate theater. She took a break to discuss how many of the songs have been covered and how reluctant the Nashville establishment was to embrace her songwriting before delivering the Grammy-winning “Passionate Kisses.” The rest of the band left the stage leaving Williams and Mathis alone to deliver the song, with Mathis adding a swirling psychedelic guitar lead under Williams plea for love and the simple joys of life. Williams strapped on a shiny gold Fender Telecaster to lead her band through a fiery, jammy version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)” to close out the first part of the show. The louder second set included an impressive new song “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” a southern Delta drinking and making a deal with the devil song that would’ve given Robert Johnson the chills. Other highlights included a roaring “Essence” which Williams described as their “sex, drugs and rock and roll” song and a Zeppelin-ish stomp through “Joy.” They ended the night with a thundering cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” that had the crowd clapping and singing along. When the song ended Williams shouted out “love, peace and revolution, y’all.”  — PETE TROSHAK

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