Americana Highways is honored to present this video premiere of Jimbo Mathus performing Lucinda Williams’ “I Can’t Let Go,” from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, on blues guitar. The song is from the full album, Solo Blues Guitar: Jimbo Mathus Performs Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road in which Mathus played completely solo instrumentally. This album was recorded by Bruce Watson at Delta Sonic Studio in Memphis, TN, mixed by Mario Viele and Eric Ambel at Cowboy Technical Services in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; and produced by Eric Ambel and Jimbo Mathus. It was released last winter on Solo Sounds label [for more about that, click right here: REVIEW: Jimbo Mathus “Solo Blues Guitar: Jimbo Mathus Performs Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”]
Mathus is a master guitar player, and while he achieved household name recognition with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, he’s also an acclaimed blues player, having played with Buddy Guy, solo, and with many others. Mathus’ performance of Williams’ album, blues style (from the Delta region Williams was writing within and about) completely solo alone in front of a mic, is satisfying on multiple levels: in terms of skill, nuance, sound, and in a style akin to Williams’– rooted as it is in the same soil’s Mississippi Delta heritage.
In addition to the fact that Mathus’ playing on this song, and indeed on the entire album, is a wonderful way to re-experience the joys of this foundational Americana album by Williams (for which she is currently on tour for its 20th Anniversay); the video stands alone as a classic aesthetic creation. It was filmed and edited by Jimbo Mathus and Alex Holeman in Taylor, MS. Anyone who’s even remotely aware of Mathus’ multiple talents will not be surprised at the cinematography here: we’re on our knees crawling face first through grasses and pumpkins rotting on the vine while still in the patch. Then we’re driving down country roads of uncertain lane widths past homes in uncertain conditions, accelerating past a hitchhiking Jimbo Mathus only to rediscover him playing on an abandoned stone porch (abandoned except for a Randy Wadkins for Congress sign), beer can in his jacket pocket, but playing fluidly and enchantingly on that beautiful ol’ guitar.
It was really fun to get Jimbo’s recording of the Car Wheels record to Lucinda. She gave me a big hug when I introduced myself to her on the 2018 Outlaw Country Cruise. – Eric Ambel
Get your very own copy here: Jimbo Mathus Performs Car Wheels on a Gravel Road [for Jimbo Mathus’ Christmas songs click here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/solo-blues-guitar-jimbo-mathus-performs-squirrel-nut/1328121231], while you’re watching right here: