Lucinda Williams' music has gotten her through her darkest days.
It's been that way since growing up amid family chaos in the Deep South, as she recounts in her candid new memoir, Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I told You.
Over the past two years, it's been the force driving her recovery from a debilitating stroke she suffered on November 17, 2020, at age 67.
Her masterful, multi-Grammy-winning songwriting has never deserted her.
To wit, her stunning, sixteenth studio album, Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart, brims over with some of the best work of her career.
And though Williams can no longer play her beloved guitar - a constant companion since age 12 - her distinctive vocals sound better than ever.
The band rocks out on the album's jubilant opening track, "Let's Get the Band Back Together," which features a gang of background singers, including Margo Price and Buddy Miller.
Inspired by "that need for community after all the isolation of the pandemic," Williams offers, the song is "about getting old friends together again who'd drifted apart." Price also joins her on the bluesy protest, "This Is Not My Town." The evocative "New York Comeback" also includes guest vocalists - Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.
A Lucinda Williams fan, Springsteen had joined her onstage in London a few years back, and he and Scialfa had wanted to contribute to a Williams album for a while.
With Reese Wynans on B3 and the Pettibone-Mathis guitar attack, the musical setting perfectly matches the theme of "Comeback," as well as on the catchy story-song "Rock N' Roll Heart," to which Springsteen and Scialfa also contributed vocals.
Says Williams, "Having Bruce and Patti on these songs feels really great.
It's just so cool!" As she promises on the powerful last track of Stories from a Rock n Roll Heart-one of the best albums of her career-Lucinda Williams is "never gonna fade away."