by Lucinda Williams

“You can only guess who that might be about,” Lucinda Williams said after a scorching performance of her new song “Man Without a Soul” aboard the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise last week. A droning, guitar-driven track, the song doesn’t mention its subject directly, but as Williams alluded, it’s impossible to not pin the lyrics to the impeached President Trump.

Though the Grand Mama of Americana already has been taken to task with “hateful comments” on Facebook by supporters of President Donald Trump for writing “Man Without a Soul,” Williams reveals that she was working on other Good Souls songs like “Bone of Contention” and “Big Rotator,” along with “Soldier’s Song” from 2011’s Blessed, before he was elected.

Referencing “9/11 and [George W.] Bush and problems with the industrial military complex,” Williams maintains she was motivated years ago to focus on other song subjects besides unrequited love.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to write more in the vein of what they used to refer to as a topical song in the way that Bob Dylan did in the ’60s, when he wrote songs like ‘Masters of War,’ ‘With God on Our Side’ and great songs like that, ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,’” says Williams, who grew up in a creative setting inhabited by poets like her father. “… I saw how in the world of poetry, they write about anything and everything, from a cat sleeping on the window sill to a wreck on the highway. And nothing is censored in that world.”

The same could be said of Good Souls Better Angels. Not pulling any punches in her powerful and politically charged nut-cruncher to be released Friday, she says in that unmistakable Sweet Lu drawl: “As the artist whose album it is, I always like to think whatever I’ve just recorded is, you know, the best.”

Lucinda Williams’ husband/manager, Tom Overby, came up with the idea for this crushing swipe at Donald Trump. Though Williams doesn’t specifically name the sandy-haired US president, she worries that the song’s subject is too easily identifiable. “I don’t want to say that it’s exactly about that person because I like to leave it open to interpretation,” she told UK’s The Sun newspaper.

“The other day Tom said, ‘Don’t tell people that song is about Trump’ and I said, ‘I’m not telling them, they’re telling me.’ It’s pretty obvious. We’re all feeling angry and frustrated, so it had to come out somewhere.”

This was the song on Good Souls Better Angels that Williams and Overby spent the most time fine tuning.

“I actually said to Tom, ‘Honey, everybody has a soul. Even though it’s Donald Trump, I don’t want to say he doesn’t have a soul,'” Williams told American Songwriter.

“To me that was the worst thing you could say about someone. Remember Neil Young sang, ‘Even Richard Nixon has got soul.'”

Lucinda Williams married Tom Overby, an executive from Best Buy’s music department, in September 2009. Good Souls Better Angels finds Overby contributing lyrics for the first time on one of his wife’s records.

“This is a new thing we’ve been doing,” Williams told Uncut magazine. “It’s giving me some new impetus. We’ve been working on a few things together, kind of like what Tom Waits is doing with his wife, Kathleen Brennan.”


[Verse 1]
You’re a man without truth
A man of greed, a man of hate
A man of envy and doubt
You’re a man without a soul
All the money in the world
Will never fill that hole
You’re a man bought and sold
You’re a man without a soul

[Chorus]
You bring nothing good to this world
Beyond a web of cheating and stealing
You hide behind your wall of lies
But it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down

[Verse 2]
You’re a man without shame
Without dignity and grace
No way to save face
You’re a man without a soul

[Chorus]
How do you think this story ends?
It’s not a matter of how
It’s just a matter of when
‘Cause it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down

[Verse 3]
There’s a darkness all around you
To cover all you’re hiding
There’s no light in your eyes
You’re a man without a soul
Now the exits will be closing
A sad life will be exposed
No dealer and no deals
‘Cause you’re a man without a soul

[Chorus]
How do you think this story ends?
It’s not a matter of how
It’s just a matter of when
‘Cause it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down

[Outro]
Yeah, it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down
Yeah, it’s coming down


#TrumpVirus

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