Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone Image
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 21 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: Produced with Tom Overby and Greg Leisz, the 11th studio release for singer-songwriter includes a song based on a poem by her father, Miller Williams.
Buy On

Top Track

Protection
I was [?] as God is the witness, a crowdie bar when nobody could hear Now I travel throw the world with no occasion And I do, I do it all by my own... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Sep 30, 2014
    100
    There’s an uncommon depth here that hasn’t been evidenced on Williams records in ages, both in the sonics (an immaculately crafted blend of intimate and widescreen) and the lyrics, which at times are deeply confessional and others downright defiant as the songwriter stares down her demons, the vicissitudes of relationships and the rampant idiocy of the outside world.
  2. Oct 6, 2014
    90
    It feels like the deepest and most soulful album she has made.
  3. Sep 29, 2014
    80
    This music is taut and soulful, but also a document of one woman baring her spirit and mind to the world, which has always been the case with her best music, and if this isn't a masterpiece, it's as pure, straightforward, and compelling as anything she's done since Essence.
  4. Sep 25, 2014
    80
    Williams has assembled many guest musicians this time around, but despite all the disparate talent, the album is a tight, coherent work that never devolves into self-indulgent jamming, even at an epic 103 minutes.
  5. Sep 29, 2014
    80
    She’s pithy and penetrating, bruised but steadfast, proud of the grain and drawl of her voice.
  6. Mojo
    Nov 7, 2014
    80
    The result is one of her most wide-ranging and satisfying collections. [Nov 2014, p.93]
  7. Sep 25, 2014
    60
    Vocally, Williams experiments more than ever before, almost to the point of jazzy improvisation; she drawls, mutters and often leaves phrases hanging in the air, at times reminiscent of Mary Margaret O’Hara. It’s a welcome development and helps to make the album feel like her most accomplished in many years.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Oct 1, 2014
    10
    Lucinda never ceases to amaze us! This album is rattling superb. Magnific. Flawless. It's been quite a while since she made such an emotionalLucinda never ceases to amaze us! This album is rattling superb. Magnific. Flawless. It's been quite a while since she made such an emotional record. Her voice tells us exactly what to feel at every single line. I also praise the band. They did an amazing job at supporting the feeling of each song. Album of the year. Hands down. Expand
  2. Oct 16, 2014
    10
    This is my favorite Lucinda album since World Without Tears. I don't know how she managed to make a double album where every song stands onThis is my favorite Lucinda album since World Without Tears. I don't know how she managed to make a double album where every song stands on its own. Even the one or two songs I did not appreciate on first listen, I have quickly grown to love. Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone has been on repeat in my car since it came out a few weeks ago and I don't plan on changing CDs any time soon. Expand
  3. Sep 30, 2014
    10
    Sublime, epic, beautiful, her heart is exploding with a million emotions that make this her greatest record yet. I have had it for two weeksSublime, epic, beautiful, her heart is exploding with a million emotions that make this her greatest record yet. I have had it for two weeks as a reviewer, and now I am speaking as a fan. There will not be many if any better records this year. And a double? Utterly epic, what an achievement!!!!! Expand
  4. Jan 19, 2015
    8
    20 tracks spread over almost 2 hours, this is a big dose of music from an artist I’ve long admired. Well-written, well-performed and well20 tracks spread over almost 2 hours, this is a big dose of music from an artist I’ve long admired. Well-written, well-performed and well worth the $5 Amazon download, this album would have knocked someone out of my 2014 top ten list if I had invested the time to listen to it a few months ago.

    Some instant classics pop out of this colossus. “Cold Day in Hell” is a smoldering break-up song, in which she assures her former lover that it will be a cold, cold day in hell before he gets to use and confuse her again. It’s a honky-tonk slow dance classic, with wailing guitar solos that break your heart.

    “Wrong Number” is cut from the same cloth. Simple slow music sung with intensity.

    It’s not only sad slow songs on this album, though. “Stand Right by Each Other” brings a little energy to the party, in the form of a make-up song:

    Babe I care too much, I won't give up that easy
    So give me that much, baby don't give up on me
    If you could see yourself the way I see you baby
    Then you could see for yourself why I don't want nobody else
    We gotta stand right by each other
    We gotta try harder baby
    I got stand right by you
    And you gotta stand right by me

    You’re never going to hear Lucinda Williams warble a glossy Taylor Swift dance number, but there’s a clear-eyed optimism that prevents her from being a Debbie Downer. She explains her approach in “When I Look at the World”:

    I've been out of luck
    I've been talked about
    I've been locked up
    I've been shut out
    I've had some bad dreams
    I’ve been filled with regret
    I've made a mess of things
    And been a total wreck
    I've been disrespected
    and taken for a ride
    I've been rejected
    and had my patience tried
    But then I look at the world
    in all its glory
    I look at the world
    And it's a different story
    each time I look at the world

    It doesn’t hurt the album that she assembled some great musicians to accompany her. Some critics have complained that the album feels “padded” with extra guitar playing, but they’re simply wrong. The guitar work on this album provides the bedrock that everything else grows on – it transforms the lyrics from barely passable poetry to expressive music.

    Speaking of poetry, the title of the album comes from a poem written by her father. She reworks the poem into the opening track, and it’s a beautiful piece that stands apart from the rest of the album. Always show compassion, she advises in a lean acoustic setting, because what comes across as conceit, bad manners or cynicism is

    Always a sign
    of things no ears have heard
    Always a sign
    of things no eyes have seen
    You do not know
    What wars are going on
    Down there, where the spirit meets the bone

    Friends, I wish I had listened to this album a few months ago so that I could have listed it in my “Top 10”, but, on the other hand, I’m happy I started out my 2015 listening with such a wonderful and important album.
    Expand

Awards & Rankings