Where the Spirit Meets the Bone by Lucinda Williams is the Pick of the Week

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We've got another week of plenty to choose from but hardly a need for choice. There's hardly anything that could come out this week that would beat Lucinda Williams for my choosing. I, along with half the world (at least the cool kids anyways) with 1998's Car Wheel on a Gravel Road. It was (and is, and forever shall be) a brilliant album - full of blood and grit, soul and ache, dirt, grime and rare beauty. For my money its on a short list of greatest albums ever made.

I've since grabbed every album she's made, and she's not made a bad one. Some are better than others, of course, but all of them have something to say and keep my ears listening for years after. This one is her first double album (and after Tweedy's double disk last week I'm starting to wonder if all my heroes are gonna double dip this year) her first to use lyrics from her poet dad, and if that wasn't enough its got Bill Frisell on guitar. If that doesn't get you excited then you might as well someone else to listen to drone on about new music.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Art Official Age/Prectrum Electrum - Prince: The enigmatic name (and game?) changer is releasing two albums this week. Art Official Age is a new solo work and rumor says that its a classic Prince type record. Plectrum Electrum is with his all-girl backing band 3rdEyeGirl and is said to be more funky. I stopped paying attention to the Purple One some time ago, but the few bootlegs I've heard of late clearly show the dude still knows how to play. It might just be time for me to find his groove again.

Old & in The Way: Live at the Record Plant Sausal - Jerry Garcia: If there was one man who could push Lucinda Williams out of the way from my pick this week its Jerry Garcia. My love for him is well documented here and elsewhere. Not sure why this is being called a Garcia album though, as Old & in the Way is his old bluegrass group with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements and John Kahn. They were only a group for about a year but because of the cult of Garcia (ah that's why they are calling it a Jerry album - cha-ching) it went on to become one of the best selling bluegrass albums of all time. This was recorded for a radio show back in 1973. Its floated the bootleg circuits for ages, but its nice to see it getting an official release.

Live - Jeff Bridges & the Abiders: I'm always leery of celebrity actors getting into the music game, but Bridges seems to know his stuff. Plus I'm a sucker for Big Lebowski references.

Genius Loves Company - Ray Charles: To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ray Charles final album they've thrown in a couple of extra tracks plus a DVD documentary with interviews with some of the folks who performed with him (and since this was a duet album with folks like Elton John, Norah Jones, BB King and Van Morrison one can expect that to get lively.)

Real World 25: Various artists. Peter Gabriel has run a record label for the last two decades and a half to focus on an eclectic group of word music players. This three disk set includes highlights from all of those sessions.

Nighthawks on the Radio: Knew-FM Broacast 8 Dec - Tom Waits: You can't beat Tom Waits live. This one collects a radio show from 1976.

Hearts Like Ours - Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White: The married couple won a CMA in their last collaboration. We'll see what they can do this time.

Live at Wembley Arena - ABBA: This one's for my wife. It was recorded in London in 1979.