Anyone who attended the Lucinda Williams concert Thursday at Woodland Park Zoo saw not only one of Lucinda’s best local shows in years, but also the free “bonus” of guitarist Bill Frisell joining Williams’ band all night.
Frisell has done studio work with Williams, and he’s even sat in at some of her Seattle shows in the past. But on Thursday, he became the central part of the band all night, and his tasteful guitar was a constant counterpoint to Lucinda’s vocals.
Williams has played ZooTunes in the past, but she seemed particularly inspired on Thursday. That could have been because of Frisell (whom she called her “favorite guitarist in the whole world”), or it may have been the energy that came from several new songs in her set.
Particularly nice was a cover of J.J. Cale’s “Magnolia,” a song included on her forthcoming double album. Frisell’s restrained melodic flourishes on the cut made it a stunner at the Zoo, and the lyrics about lost love sounded as if Williams herself had penned them.
Williams also played many of her own songwriting classics, such as “Pineola,” “Get Right With God,” and “Drunken Angel.” But it was another cover, this one of a Neil Young song, that ended the evening and got the entire crowd on its feet. Williams often includes “Rockin’ in the Free World” at her shows, but at a special concert, and with Frisell showing he also has rock guitar god moves, it was the perfect rockin’ ending to a fabulous show.