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Sound Check

2/3/2016

Lucinda WilliamsLucinda Williams
“The Ghosts of Highway 20”
Highway 20 Records

Lucinda Williams is the cure for bro country. Seemingly single-handedly looking to rescue country music from the beds of beer-soaked pickup trucks, Williams continues to be the closest thing the genre has to Tom Waits. “Ghosts of Highway 20” is a lush album — really more of a double-disk EP, with seven songs each on two CDs — and Williams does her best on each song to make you remember why a bottle of Jack can be your best friend. Each song provides plenty of fodder for introspection in the best way possible, with tracks like “House of Earth” and “Place in My Heart” ranking among some of the best work she has turned in. Williams is one of country music’s last great champions of the well-turned phrase, and “The Ghosts of Highway 20” is a veritable master class in how the genre should be done. CV

SuedeSuede
“Night Thoughts”
Suede Ltd.

Suede is one of those acts that seems to age like a fine wine. Its early work is perfectly acceptable, even great in spots. But with “Night Thoughts,” the art rockers seem to have elevated themselves to rare air. A concept album through and through, “Night Thoughts” not only tells a cohesive story on its own but was also made to accompany a film by the same name. The dual purposes serve to give the album a broad, orchestral feel. Songs are presented without track breaks, creating a fluid, stream-of-consciousness feeling to the listening experience. “No Tomorrow” is the closest the album gets to a pure Suede pop hit and is not coincidentally the strongest album on the track. But this is one of those times when you can toss the liner notes out the window, damn the track listings and just lay on the couch and let the experience of an album take you places. CV

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