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Williams superb in laid-back show

LUCINDA WILLIAMS, DEBI GRAHAM BAND, Kingsbury Hall, Wednesday.

Lucinda Williams combined her intelligent lyrics and many musical styles for an outstanding two-hour performance Wednesday night.

Wearing a cowgirl hat with her short hair beneath in pigtails, Williams and her three-piece band started off with the somber "Pineola." She kept the mood mellow as she sang about lost loves, failed relationships and moving on with the magnificently sad "Reason to Cry," "Over Time" and "Those Three Days."

Williams said she felt like her concerts had turned into "the rock show" lately, and she needed to put some ballads back in the lineup.

"You seem to be the crowd for this," she said.

In fact, Williams seemed to make up much of the set list as she went along, continuously flipping through her large book of lyrics on the stand in front of her.

"I don't know why we bother making out a set list," she said. "I don't want to do the same damn thing every night."

On this night, it seemed every decision Williams made was the right one. She beautifully blended her ballads with her rock, country and blues songs, as well as several new numbers, such as "Well, Well, Well" and the solid "Jailhouse Tears," which told the story of a conversation between two inmates.

The soulful "Still I Long For Your Kiss" was one of the show's highlights, along with "Changed the Lock" and the rockin' "Righteously."

During the encore, Williams talked about Hurricane Katrina and how her mother, who died a year ago, and her mother's family all grew up in New Orleans.

"It really hits home for me. I hadn't even begun to deal with the loss of my mother, and then the loss of the city my mother lived in . . . it's been a very intense year," she said before launching into "Crescent City" and "Lake Charles." She ended the evening with the melodic "West."


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com