Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme

Album Review

October 23, 1994|Steve Hochman

VICTORIA WILLIAMS, "Loose" ( Mammoth/Atlantic )****

It may sound like trite hype to call Williams a national treasure, but why mince words over such a valuable talent? Her third and best album is filled with distinctive revelries in the many small joys and large awes she finds in life, feelings that apparently were only intensified by her battle with multiple sclerosis.

Those twin themes are explicit in versions of the standard "What a Wonderful World" and Spirit's "Nature's Way," the latter a duet with Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner. But they are given finer detail in Williams' own miniatures, filled with the kind of eccentric characters and peculiar insights that would be at home in a Eudora Welty story.

Williams brings equal depth and emotion to such daily ephemera as "Polish Those Shoes" as to the complex outcast character study "Crazy Mary" or the celebratory wake for a deceased friend "Happy to Have Known Pappy."

Williams' curious, spritely delivery is that of a born storyteller. Producer Paul Fox wisely frames it in ecumenical Americana (with some typically Stephen Fosteresque arrangements by Van Dyke Parks), allowing Williams' playful dynamics to dictate the flow. And flow it does, a captivating hour with a free spirit who finds God in the smallest things and compelling stories in even the most seemingly insignificant people.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|