Other than her raw, undecorated vocals and an acoustic guitar, those of us in attendance could hear a pin drop throughout the performance. Taped just before the release of her first-ever double studio album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Williams chose to share four of her poetic songs in a solo format, which only added to their potency.
From a circular 12-bar blues that finds the singer-songwriter waiting on her own personal judgment day to an open letter that stares into the eyes of patronizing politicians, waiting for them to flinch, Williams had the audience leaning forward and wrapped up in her stories from the first note.
She even addressed the famously unresolved West Memphis Three murder case, which has confounded investigators and ruined dozens of lives since the grizzly scene was discovered in 1993.
It’s been 16 years since her breakthrough album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, but Williams is clearly still pushing boundaries and doing so without a safety net of backing musicians.
Check out her bold observations on “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “East Side of Town,” “This Old Heartache” and “West Memphis,” captured during her Live @ CMT session.