Three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams will release This Sweet Old World, a re-recording of her beloved 1992 album Sweet Old World, on September 29, 2017, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its release.
Produced by Williams and Tom Overby, This Sweet Old World (Highway 20/Thirty Tigers), features updated interpretations of songs such as “Prove My Love,” “Sidewalks of the City,” “Memphis Pearl,” and “Lines Around Your Eyes.” With her deeply soulful voice and wisdom gained over the last 25 years, Williams breathes new life into classics “Pineola,” “Sweet Old World,” “Something About What Happens When We Talk,” “Little Angel, Little Brother,” and Nick Drake’s “Which Will.”
The third track on the original Sweet Old World, “He Never Got Enough Love,” is transformed with additional verses, a new sound, and a title change from “Drivin’ Down a Dead End Street.” Williams changed it upon the realization that Bob Dylan had a song with a similar name: “Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street),” which is on 1988’s Down in the Groove.
The arrangements on This Sweet Old World are tighter and rawer than the original and feature Williams’ touring/studio band: guitarist Stuart Mathis, bassist David Sutton, and drummer Butch Norton. Guitarist Greg Leisz, who participated in the early sessions for the 1992 album, adds his playing to the new recordings.
If re-recording an entire studio album was not already an unprecedented move, Williams and company chose to re-record the four tracks that were not included on the original release. This Sweet Old World features new versions of “Factory Blues,” “Dark Side of Life,” John Anderson’s “Wild and Blue,” and the John Leventhal/Jim Lauderdale-penned “What You Don’t Know.”
While Sweet Old World remains a favorite of many Lucinda Williams fans, the album came out in between two of her landmark recordings (1988’s highly-influential Lucinda Williams and 1998’s masterpiece Car Wheels on a Gravel Road), and was not as revered over time. The years have proven that the songs are as strong as any she has written, but Williams felt the need to revisit the recording. “Everything’s different now. It’s a different band, it’s a different studio, my voice is different,” says Williams. “It’s like a new album.”