CRITICS LOVE LUCINDA ...

Lucinda Williams’ trip down the back roads of the South took her to the top of the Village Voice music poll of 496 critics. Her “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” was named best album of 1998 in the weekly’s annual poll, narrowly beating Grammy favorite Lauryn Hill’s solo debut, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Williams’ sweet blend of country, rock, folk and blues is something of a travelogue of the Southern towns she knows as an on-the-road singer-songwriter and daughter of a college professor. The critics also liked Bob Dylan’s live recording from 1966, and they liked a collaboration between Billy Bragg and Wilco on some just-discovered Woody Guthrie songs, as well as Elliott Smith’s “XO” album.

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