Photographs by Daniela Tantalo.
Lucinda Williams’ candor and sincerity have been the hallmarks of her career as a singer-songwriter, both were on full displace Thursday night at The Opera House.
Kicking off the night with the “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Williams alongside Buick 6, her backing band and the instrumental rock trio that opened the night, felt loose and relaxed on her second night in Toronto.
Playing leap frog between wandering folk, gospel-blues to grieving rock, Williams was most at home with looser arrangements. “Those Three Days,” “Drunken Angel,” “Bitter Memory,” and the gorgeous “Dust” were among the many songs that stood out over the course of the night. Anecdotes and frank remarks littered the set adding a touch of colour to Williams’ candid performance.
Four plus decades in music haven’t taken the rebellious, and often political spark out of her. Covering Sam Cook’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” felt timely with Toronto’s recent Black Lives Matter protests. Williams’ own song “Joy,” took on a political anathematic tone of it’s own, finding it’s soul in the cracks and crevices of her voice.
Williams’ signature vocals, raspy like they’d been raked over a gravel road, offered warmth and defiance during her haunting performance of “The Ghosts of Highway 20.” Performing alone with her guitar it was Lucinda, the storyteller, at her finest.
An enthralling singer-songwriter, Williams’ performance felt familiar, like a well-worn leather jacket. Rough around the edges, worn in elbows with just the right amount of attitude and timeless.