A voice for the times, Lucinda Williams opens our Mini-Grandstand concert series

The Americana queen plays a special set drawing on her new album "Good Souls Better Angels," which echoes our troubled era.

Lucinda Williams performs at the Fitzgerald Theater on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Lucinda Williams performs at the Fitzgerald Theater on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

— Tony Saunders, Special to the Star Tribune

Even though the world was derailed by the coronavirus, Lucinda Williams released her new album, “Good Souls Better Angels,” as planned in April. With its roaring guitars, rattling garage-rock rhythms and cut-to-the-bone lyrics, her 13th album is an angry shout that reverberates during a time of viral pandemic, racial unrest and political divisiveness.

“This is an album I always wanted to make,” said the three-time Grammy-winner. There seems little question about the subject of the new tune “Man Without a Soul,” while “Bad News Blues” and “You Can’t Rule Me” (a vintage tune by blueswoman Memphis Minnie) bristle with bark and bite. Nonetheless, Williams insists she’s an optimist, as evidenced by two new numbers, the meditative “When the Way Gets Dark” and the prayer-like “Good Souls.”

The Americana music queen has kept busy during the pandemic, promoting her album, recording a no-audience concert series of themed shows (broadcasts TBA) and writing her memoir (to be published in late 2021). There could be a lot about Minnesota in there, since she recorded her 2001 “Essence” album in Minneapolis and got married at First Avenue to her Minnesota-reared manager/producer Tom Overby in 2009.