Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

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Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
CarWheelson aGravelRoad.jpg
Studio album by Lucinda Williams
Released June 30, 1998
Recorded 1995-98
Studio Room and Board Studio in Nashville, Tennessee; Rumbo Studio in Canoga Park, California
Genre Roots rock, alternative country, country blues, folk
Length 51:40
Label Mercury
Producer Roy Bittan, Steve Earle, Ray Kennedy, Lucinda Williams
Lucinda Williams chronology
Sweet Old World
(1992)
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
(1998)
Essence
(2001)

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, released on June 30, 1998, by Mercury Records. It was recorded and co-produced by Williams in Nashville, Tennessee and Canoga Park, California. The album features guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and was Willams' first album to go gold.[1] The album is her best-selling album, with 872,000 copies sold in the US as of October 2014.[2] It was voted as the best album of 1998 in The Village Voice‍ '​s annual Pazz & Jop critics poll.

Recording[edit]

After signing a record deal with Rick Rubin's American Recordings label, Williams began recording songs for Car Wheels on a Gravel Road in 1995.[3] The album was originally made in collaboration with Williams's long-time producer and guitar player Gurf Morlix. According to Morlix, the recordings (in Austin, Texas) were "90% done," but Williams shelved them and redid them in Nashville. In the middle of the re-recordings, they "butted heads in the studio" and ended their partnership.[4] She also worked with Steve Earle who said of the experience that it was "the least amount of fun I’ve had working on a record."[5]

The final version of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road was produced by Roy Bittan.[6] Williams incorporated country and blues elements into her modern roots rock style for the album.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 5/5 stars[7]
AllMusic 5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly A−[9]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[10]
NME 9/10[11]
Pitchfork Media 9.2/10[12]
Q 4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[15]
The Village Voice A+[16]

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road received widespread acclaim from music critics.[1] In a review for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne found Williams' hard-edged evocations of Southern rural life refreshing amid a music market overrun by timid, mass-produced female artists.[9] Richard Cromelin of the Los Angeles Times said her "resonant, resolute and reassuring" answers to the questions romantic passion and pain pose are as ambitious as the "rich", commanding sound she crafted with producers Steve Earle and Ray Kennedy.[10] NME magazine said Williams transfigures "American roots rock into a heady, soul-baring and, would you believe, unabashedly sexy art form",[11] while Uncut credited the album with "repositioning country-blues roots rock as contemporary Southern art" and offering listeners "a sense of life and place that leap from every line and guitar lick".[13] Robert Christgau argued at the time that she proves herself to be the era's "most accomplished record-maker" by honing traditional popular music composition, understated vocal emotions, and realistic narratives colored by her native experiences and values:[17]

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road was named by many critics as one of the year's best albums in their top-ten lists. It topped the Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1998 and earned Williams a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, although AllMusic's Steve Huey later said it was her "least folk-oriented record".[1] In a retrospective review, About.com's Kim Ruehl credited the album with solidifying Williams' status as one of the best singer-songwriters of all time, as she "single-handedly marries the genres of traditional and alternative country, roots rock and American folk music so smoothly, it almost feels like magic."[7] In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine called Car Wheels on a Gravel Road an alternative country masterpiece and ranked it number 304 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[19] In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Dave Marsh said it is a masterpiece of timeless quality and greater depth than anything else by Williams, who offers a perfect collection of "faces, fights, keening swamp guitar and sighing accordion, strong drink and stronger lust in an album about places shadowed by memory".[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Lucinda Williams except where noted.

  1. "Right in Time" – 4:35
  2. "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" – 4:44
  3. "2 Kool 2 Be 4-gotten" – 4:42
  4. "Drunken Angel" – 3:20
  5. "Concrete and Barbed Wire" – 3:08
  6. "Lake Charles" – 5:27
  7. "Can’t Let Go" (Randy Weeks) – 3:28
  8. "I Lost It" – 3:31
  9. "Metal Firecracker" – 3:30
  10. "Greenville" – 3:23
  11. "Still I Long For Your Kiss" (Williams, Duane Jarvis) – 4:09
  12. "Joy" – 4:01
  13. "Jackson" – 3:42
Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks
  1. "Down the Big Road Blues" (Mattie Delaney) – 4:07
  2. "Out of Touch" – 3:50
  3. "Still I Long For Your Kiss" (Alternate version) (Williams, Jarvis) – 5:00

Deluxe Edition Disc Two[edit]

Recorded live July 11, 1998, at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA.

  1. "Pineola" – 4:18
  2. "Something About What Happens When We Talk" – 3:44
  3. "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" – 4:42
  4. "Metal Firecracker" – 3:39
  5. "Right in Time" – 4:32
  6. "Drunken Angel" – 3:27
  7. "Greenville" – 3:46
  8. "Still I Long For Your Kiss" (Williams, Jarvis) – 4:39
  9. "2 Kool 2 Be 4-gotten" – 4:53
  10. "Can’t Let Go" (Weeks) – 3:51
  11. "Hot Blood" – 7:38
  12. "Changed The Locks" – 4:19
  13. "Joy" – 6:08

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Country Albums 14
U.S. Billboard 200 [20] 65

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ a b c d Lucinda Williams. AllMusic. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Emily White (October 10, 2014). "Lucinda Williams Tops Folk Albums Chart, U2 Hits Alternative Songs Milestone". Billboard. 
  3. ^ Cramer, Alfred William (2009). Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century. Salem Press. p. 1625. ISBN 1587655179. 
  4. ^ Nichols, Lee (17 April 2000). "Sideman Supreme Gurf Morlix Steps...". Music Out Front. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Bukowski, Elizabeth (January 11, 2000). "Lucinda Williams". salon.com. Salon Media Group. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Creswell, Toby (2006). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time and the Artists, Stories and Secrets Behind Them. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-56025-915-2. 
  7. ^ a b Ruehl, Kim. "Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Deluxe Edition". About.com. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  8. ^ Huey, Steve. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2005.
  9. ^ a b Browne, David (July 10, 1998). "Dandy Williams: Much delayed and breathlessly awaited, Lucinda's gritty new cycle of songs Wheels so good". Entertainment Weekly (440). p. 74. Retrieved 12 May 2011.  Posted on July 6, 1998.
  10. ^ a b Cromelin, Richard (1998). "Album Review". Los Angeles Times (August 9). Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road > NME Reviews". NME. June 28, 1998. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  13. ^ a b "Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  14. ^ Edwards, Gavin (2006). "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (Reissue)". Rolling Stone (New York) (October 30). Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Marsh, Dave (2004). "Lucinda Williams". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 875–876. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  16. ^ Christgau 1998a.
  17. ^ Christgau 1998a; Christgau 1998b
  18. ^ Christgau 1998b.
  19. ^ "500 Greatest Albums: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road - Lucinda Williams | Rolling Stone". rollingstone.com. 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  20. ^ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road - Lucinda Williams > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
Bibliography

External links[edit]