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Released: June 30, 1998

Rating: 4.500 (average of 4 ratings)

Genre: folk

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Right in Time
  2. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  3. 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
  4. Drunken Angel
  5. Concrete and Barbed Wire
  6. Lake Charles
  7. Can't Let Go
  8. I Lost It
  9. Metal Firecracker
  10. Greenville
  11. Still I Long for Your Kiss
  12. Joy
  13. Jackson

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 0.811
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.811


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 65
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • none


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave's Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Time Magazine’s All-TIME 100 Albums.

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Lucinda Williams
"It isn't surprising that Lucinda Williams' level of craft takes time to assemble, but the six-year wait between Sweet Old World and…Car Wheels on a Gravel Road still raised eyebrows. The delay stemmed both from label difficulties and Williams' meticulous perfectionism, the latter reportedly over a too-produced sound and her own vocals." SH

"Listening to the record, one can understand why both might have concerned Williams. Car Wheels is far and away her most produced album to date, which is something of a mixed blessing. Its surfaces are clean and contemporary, with something in the timbres of the instruments (especially the drums) sounding extremely typical of a late-'90s major-label roots-rock album." SH

"While that might subtly alter the timeless qualities of Williams' writing, there's also no denying that her sound is punchier and livelier. The production also throws Williams' idiosyncratic voice into sharp relief, to the point where it's noticeably separate from the band. As a result, every inflection and slight tonal alteration is captured, and it would hardly be surprising if Williams did obsess over those small details." SH

"But whether or not you miss the earthiness of Car Wheels' predecessors, it's ultimately the material that matters, and Williams' songwriting is as captivating as ever." SH "These up-from-Dixie tunes flow so easily, like conversations over a low backyard fence, that it's hard to believe Williams spent six years obsessing over each chord and syllable." TL

"Intentionally or not, the album's common thread seems to be its strongly grounded sense of place -- specifically, the Deep South, conveyed through images and numerous references to specific towns. Many songs are set, in some way, in the middle or aftermath of not-quite-resolved love affairs, as Williams meditates on the complexities of human passion. Even her simplest songs have more going on under the surface than their poetic structures might indicate." SH

"On Can't Let Go [and] I Lost It she starts with evocative nouns and everyday thoughts…and dramatizes them with indelible country and rock guitar hooks to create a sense of the modern rural South as a place that's sometimes sad, but always seductive." TL

"In the end, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is Williams' third straight winner; although she might not be the most prolific songwriter of the '90s, she's certainly one of the most brilliant." SH

Review Source(s):

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Last updated January 26, 2011.