Excuse the Americana interruption, but with a new double album out (next week), amazingly titled Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Lucinda Williams seems to be singing from the basement, looking up. And so we need to listen! The twenty-track album from the famed songwriter is streamable on NPR right now, and is worth the listen, regardless of whether or not you find her Louisiana gruff too gruff. The album opens with the title track, which is actually called “Compassion,” a poem her poet-mentor-father wrote: “Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it / What seems conceit is always a sign, always a sign, always a sign / For those you encounter, have compassion, even if they don’t want it / What seems bad manners is always a sign, always a sign, always a sign…of things no ears have heard, of things no eyes have seen, / You do not know what wars are going on / Down there where the spirit meets the bone.”

And if that’s not enough, the next track, “Protection” is a retrospective of the kind of compassion she’s needed over the years. She has softened the rough edges in these new songs, or at least life has. She’s older. “Living in a world full of troubles / Living in a world where darkness doubles…I need protection, give me protection!” She’s clearly suffered and seen the enemies and, while down there, found some help.