Essence (Lucinda Williams album)

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Essence
Studio album by Lucinda Williams
Released June 5, 2001
Genre Americana, Alternative country
Length 50:58
Label Lost Highway
Producer Bo Ramsey
Tom Tucker
Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams chronology
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
(1998)
Essence
(2001)
World Without Tears
(2003)

Essence is Lucinda Williams' sixth album. It was released in 2001. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 28, selling about 44,500 copies in its first week.[1] According to Billboard as of February 2008, the album had sold 336,000 copies in the U.S.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (82/100) [3]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [4]
The A.V. Club (favorable) [5]
Robert Christgau A− [6]
Entertainment Weekly B+ [7]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [8]
Spin (8/10) [9]

Essence was highly anticipated coming after a three-year gap from her lauded Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and the critical reviews reflect that. Although positive, none rate the album as highly as her breakthrough. Robert Christgau, who raved about Car Wheels, called the album "imperfect" but still praised her artistry saying "[she] is too damn good to deny."[6] Reviewers noted the difference in tone between the two albums with Rolling Stone citing the "willful intimacy" of the music[8] while Spin contrasted its "halting, spare" presentation with Car Wheels "giddy, verbose" one.[9] In a review posted by Salon the album was called "an emotional mess of a masterpiece".[10]

Q listed Essence as one of the best 50 albums of 2001.[11]

Personnel on the album include Tony Garnier and Charlie Sexton, best known as part of Bob Dylan's live backing band at the time. The album also features session drummer Jim Keltner.

Track listing[edit]

(All songs by Lucinda Williams)

  1. "Lonely Girls" – 4:01
  2. "Steal Your Love" – 3:14
  3. "I Envy the Wind" – 3:12
  4. "Blue" – 3:52
  5. "Out of Touch" – 5:25
  6. "Are You Down" – 5:24
  7. "Essence" – 5:50
  8. "Reason to Cry" – 3:39
  9. "Get Right With God" – 4:16
  10. "Bus to Baton Rouge" – 5:50
  11. "Broken Butterflies" – 5:41

Personnel[edit]

Additional musicians:

  • David Mansfield – viola
  • Ryan Adams – tremolo guitar ("Essence")
  • Gary Louris – background vocals ("Essence")
  • Joy Lynn White – background vocals ("Get Right With God", "Bus to Baton Rouge", "Broken Butterflies")

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martens, Todd (June 14, 2001). "Staind Fends Off Radiohead, St. Lunatics At No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved 22 February 2007. 
  2. ^ Caulfield, Keith (February 8, 2008). "Ask Billboard: Williams' Wild 'West'". billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved 9 February 2008. 
  3. ^ "Essence - Lucinda Williams". metacritic. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Deming, Mark. Essence (Lucinda Williams album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 August 2005.
  5. ^ Klein, Joshua (April 19, 2002). "Lucinda Williams Essence". avclub.com. The Onion. Retrieved 23 October 2005. 
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (June 12, 2001). "Encore From a Utopia". The Village Voice. Retrieved 12 November 2011.  Rated at "Lucinda Williams > Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 11 August 2005. 
  7. ^ Browne, David (June 8, 2001). "Williams & Grace: Essence Lucinda Williams > Reviews". Entertainment Weekly (599). p. 74. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Berger, Arion (May 24, 2001). Sheffield, Rob, ed. "Recordings: All the Small Things: Lucinda Williams Essence". Rolling Stone (869). p. 86. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2007.  Posted May 1, 2001.
  9. ^ a b Weisbard, Eric (July 2001). "Reviews: Lucinda Williams Essence". Spin 17 (7): 125. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  10. ^ McLeese, Don (May 31, 2001). "Lucinda Williams' psychosexual murk". salon.com. Salon Media Group. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Best 50 Albums of 2001". Q. December 2001. pp. 60–65.