Lucinda Williams-"Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" To Be Issued On Vinyl. Or Not. Well, Maybe Yes After All.

To continue my never-ending posts about all things Lucinda Williams, it has just been announced that Car Wheels on a Gravel Road will be released on vinyl on June 23, 2014. But it will not be on an American label. Instead, the EU label Music on Vinyl which regularly releases audiophile quality recordings on 180 gram vinyl is doing it.

While both Tom Overby and Lu herself have long expressed commitments to vinyl, and to getting her entire catalog on LPs, this came as a surprise. As Tom said in a note, "It's news to me." 

This will be the third "release" of the album. The first was, of course, in 1998, to great acclaim. It won a Grammy. It was also named album of the year by the Village Voice's annual Pazz and Jop Poll, which, as I recall, was the first time a female artist took home that honor. But that should not be too unexpected as the Voice was one of the earliest national publication to sing her praises.

It was then released in 2006 as a deluxe two CD set that also included some additional tracks and a live set.

No information was initially given on whether it is a remaster or, like Dylan's World Gone Wrong vinyl re-issue in the EU, if it might be a direct copy of the CD itself. However, knowing the label's history and having some of their pressings I doubt that to be the case. To make sure, I asked. Their response: "We use the best audio available to cut our records. We receive and use different kinds of masters: analogue tapes, original metal parts, lacquers cut from analogue tapes and high res digital files 192/96khz/24 bit. Music On Vinyl does not use CD's as masters." Thus, it should be excellent sound quality.

Why is vinyl so important? Well, it is the only part of recording industry that has seen an increase in sales during the past ten years or so, most notable the Americana genre. And it is fueled primarily not by middle aged white guys who don't like change, but by younger listeners and fans who want something tangible. CDs are so yesterday -- what your parents listen to.

Now, only Essence and Sweet Old World to go.

The Music on Vinyl records are available from various EU sources and record stores that handle imports. 

June 10 Update: Lucinda's Management has stated that the EU label does not have the rights to release a vinyl version of the album in Europe and it is being looked into. So, it looks like steps are being taken to prevent its scheduled release, or, perhaps, provide Music on Vinyl with the opportunity/authority to do so.

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Comment by Easy Ed on June 7, 2014 at 9:45pm

What might give Tom and Lu even more of a surprise is doing an Amazon search on "Lucinda Williams". After a page or so of her catalog, it dissolves into albums by Jennifer Nettles, Linda Ronstadt, Gillian Welch, David Crosby,Sharon Jones, Jason Isbell, Iris DeMent, an acoustic guitar pickup and a copy of a 2001 Playboy magazine. 

Comment by RP N10 on June 8, 2014 at 4:33am

Anyone looking for an EU source  for Lucinda or anything else on vinyl could do a lot worse than try Fargo in Paris.

Web address/

As well as being a good well stocked indie record store (incl on line store) , they have regular in stores - recent events include Howe Gelb, Benjamin Booker.  They have a label which distributes the likes of Jesse Sykes and Neal Casal.  They promote  gigs around the Paris area.  Click the UK flag in the top right to get it in English.

Comment by Gerwyn Glyn Owen on June 8, 2014 at 11:56am

Interesting piece - recently got back into vinyl and that's the way forward for me now.  I'm waiting for Zoe Muth's new album to be released on vinyl (the label said it would happen in 2/3 months) and I'll be looking out for this one.  Cheers!

Comment by Amos Perrine on June 8, 2014 at 7:47pm
Latest from Tom Overby, "Well let me put it this way. They have not acquired the rights to release Car Wheels on vinyl." The plot thickens.
Comment by Johnnymoondog on June 10, 2014 at 10:21am

With all due respect, Mr. Overby has been telling us for years that vinyl releases were coming out for Essence, Sweet Old World and Car Wheels.  And it hasn't happened. So if a good label like MOV picks up the slack, I applaud them.

Comment by Tommy Lagniappe on June 10, 2014 at 1:12pm

cool beans

Comment by Tom Overby on June 10, 2014 at 2:39pm
Several things to answer above so let me start with the CWOAGR vinyl. Anyone wanting to reissue that record in any form has to get approval from two places - 1)Universal Music Group, who own the master recordings- and 2)Lucinda - she has final approval of any re-release, even Universal. For example if Universal wanted to release Car Wheels on vinyl they have to get Lucinda's sign off. When Lucinda comes to do the CW vinyl she will have to work out a deal with Universal. I have had multiple offers to reissue CW on vinyl from great labels but it is something we wanted to hang on to and I will explain why after I have filled in a little of the backstory.
With the release of Lucinda's last record, Blessed, her original contract with Universal and Lost Highway finally had been fulfilled. At this same time some major changes were happening at Universal Nashville, which was the parent co. of Lost Highway. It was obvious it was time to move on and find a new home and we did so with great excitement. Long story short the process of doing so took a lot longer than we anticipated because we very much knew what kind of situation we wanted and what we definitely didn't want. One of the things that Lucinda and I had always talked about was having our own imprint label to put out other projects if we so chose. While this probably caused some delay, we are thrilled to have found a home/partner (30 Tigers) that accommodated that. Having our own imprint was the reason we hung onto the CW vinyl as well as waiting to do any other catalog re- releases. To be honest I did have discussions with Universal's catalog division about redoing her catalog, vinyl reissues etc. but it didn't take long to see that their interest was varying and and an arrangement for re-release of her catalog wasn't going to happen. So yes, to answer Johnnymoondog, I suppose I have been saying for years that the CW, Essence and Sweet Old World (owned by Warner's, which is a separate can of worms), are coming out on vinyl, and I believe I have finally created a situation where I can now more easily do that. Now that we have autonomy, we have a long list of projects and reissues that we want to do. And we have started - of course the one that had to come out first was the long awaited reissue of the S/T record aka the Rough Trade record this past January. We have also been buried in finishing Lu's hew record. In the past months Lu has recorded some 35 songs and the first record will be a double record released in Sept with a separate record, done at the same time and featuring Bill Frisell, set for sometime in 2015. We are definitely moving forward. I have probably over answered here but to get back to the original question, I hope you can now understand why I wasn't exactly jumping up and down with uncontrollable glee upon hearing that someone was planning to release the CW vinyl without the proper authorization to do so.
Comment by Easy Ed on June 10, 2014 at 2:49pm

@Tom: In true music biz fashion, it would have been great to be able to end your story with news that 30 Tigers is distributed by Fontana/Universal in the US (it's not folks...RED) and Warners in the UK/Europe. All the best to you two on the new journey and I'll look for you at Clearwater.

Comment by Tom Overby on June 10, 2014 at 2:51pm
Ed -great to hear from you- look forward to seeing you in Clearwater.
Comment by Amos Perrine on June 10, 2014 at 3:03pm

Thanks to Tom for bringing us up to date. And I will see Lu & company in Pittsburgh at the Three Rivers Arts Fest on Saturday.


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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.