The object of cultish adoration for years, singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams was universally hailed as a major talent by both critics and fellow musicians, but it took quite some time for her to match it with popular success. Part of the reason was her legendary perfectionism: Williams releases records only infrequently, often taking years to hone both the material and the recordings thereof. Accordingly, even her simplest songs are rich in literary detail, from her poetic imagery to her flawed, conflicted characters. Her singing voice, whose limitations she readily acknowledged, nonetheless has developed into an evocative instrument that seems entirely appropriate to her material. So if some critics describe her as "the female Bob Dylan," they may be oversimplifying things. Still, the parallels are certainly too strong to ignore. ~ Steve Huey
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