"We've actually wanted to do a cover series for a long time now, but never had the time with my touring schedule", Lucinda Williams told Rolling Stone recently. "I guess the silver lining in all of this has been to be able to really get inside the songs of some of my favourite artists - see what makes them tick".
Last Thursday the first episode of 'Lu's Jukebox' went out online and by all accounts Lucinda is going to end 2020, already a great year for her, on a high. 'Lu's Jukebox' is a series of six themed shows which will stream on the Mandolin platform. Tickets can be purchased from Lucinda's own website, but also through venue websites. Those venues will receive a percentage of the ticket price. Viewers can opt for individual shows or for the entire series, and as an add-on the audio will be available either as download or on CD or vinyl.
The first show was dedicated to the music of Tom Petty, someone Lucinda knew well. She told viewers how she first met him when she was his support act. She was not very well-known at the time and Tom took it upon himself to come out on stage and introduce her, urging his fans to pay attention to the opening act.
This was very much a show made for an online audience. It did not try to be a live concert. What we got was Lucinda and an excellent band playing live in the Room and Board studio in Nashville. They were wearing headphones and surrounded by racks of equipment. The clothes they were wearing gave away that it wasn't all filmed on the same day (I want the drummer's Spiritualized T-shirt...). It all sounded superb and once again I couldn't help thinking how great it is not to be disturbed by people chatting or pushing past to the bar.
I am not overly familiar with Tom Petty's catalogue. I discovered him very early on, when 'Refugee' was a hit and I saw a concert on TV (Rockpalast 1977). I had 'Damn The Torpedoes' on vinyl, but then I more or less lost sight of Tom. I was obviously aware of his status and eventually got his 'Greatest Hits' on CD; possibly one of the best singles collections anyone has ever released.
Lucinda played only two songs from that Greatest Hits album - 'Runnin' Down A Dream' and 'I Won't Back Down'. She explained that she went for songs that she felt some connection with. The song 'Gainesville' for example is an outtake that was first released after Tom's death.
Lucinda's chat in between the songs was both insightful as well as heart-warming. It is obvious she is a real fan. She talked about the fact that she and Tom were both Southerners. Her voice is remarkably suited to his repertoire. Full marks to the fabulous band that made this all the more a joy to watch. They finished with a new song, 'Stolen Moments', that Lucinda wrote with Tom in mind. She dedicated it to his widow.
2. Runnin' Down A Dream
4. Louisiana Rain
5. I Won't Back Down
6. A Face In The Crowd
8. You Wreck Me
9. Room At The Top
10. You Don't Know How It Feels
11. Down South
12. Southern Accents
13. Stolen Moments
Fred Eltringham - drums
Stephen Mackey - bass
Stuart Mathis - guitar
Joshua Grange - guitar, keyboard
12 November Southern Soul: From Memphis to Muscle Shoals
19 November Bob's Back Pages: A Night of Bob Dylan Songs
3 December Funny How Time Slips Away: A Night of 60s Country Classics
17 December Have Yourself A Rockin' Little Christmas with Lucinda
31 December It's Only Rock and Roll: A Tribute to the Rolling Stones