Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels (Highway 20/Thirty Tigers)

Lucinda Williams is wonderfully unhinged on Good Souls Better Angels.

At times socially conscious.

At times consciously unsociable.

Searing in her honesty and unforgiving in her appraisal of 2020 life.

But brutally honest from start to finish.

Williams channels her inner Iggy Pop on lead single and opener You Can’t Rule Me.

Then there’s the divisive and achingly relevant Bad News Blues

An endorsement of Donald Trump’s fake news agenda?

Or a send up of America’s outspoken president?

Who really knows?

What’s certain is that Williams relishes a challenge.

She’s not afraid to tackle the big issues or purge her personal demons.

And Good Souls Better Angels lays it all on the line.

The pain of depression is beautifully woven into the brutally effective Big Black Train.

Man Without A Soul is monstrously cutting.

But When The Way Gets Dark suggests all hope is not lost…yet.

Williams’ snarling vocal style is better suited to savage criticism and curt opinion.

And yet her softer side is reassuringly comforting.

Set closer Good Souls – think Cowboy Junkies meets Alison Krauss-era Robert Plant – is strangely soothing.

Subtle strings complement a standout vocal as Williams signs off in style.

Good Souls Better Angels will set pulses racing and heads spinning.

At a time when lives have been turned upside down this record confirms that personal conflict is a familiar constant.