Lucinda Williams

Little Honey

Lucinda Williams has shows Sunday and Monday (Nov. 16-17) at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Lucinda Williams is a musicians’ musician. Not only do they want to record her songs (such as Mary-Chapin Carpenter with “Passionate Kisses”), they want to record with her. Just look at the guest stars on her latest disc: Elvis Costello, Susanna Hoffs, Jim Lauderdale, Matthew Sweet. And look at some of the instruments her band, Buick 6, pulled out for it: orchestral cymbals, double bass, saw, washing machine, “big ass drum,” Gon Kogi bell. Not surprisingly, Little Honey is Williams’ most eclectic album—and one of her best, right up there with the Grammy-winning Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. The 12 originals and one cover (ACDC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top”) are like a tour of the Austin music scene: rock bars, honky-tonks, blues joints and folk clubs. The first track has a false start; others pause for long seconds of silence before whispered or a-capella openings. The lead vocals are raw, unleashed by Williams in all her nasally, gravelly, twangy glory. Little Honey should be a mess—instead, it’s a tribute to a master craftswoman who’s revered for transforming myriad imperfections—hers, music’s, life’s—into pure perfection.