Live @ the Fillmore

If there is such a thing as cerebral white trash, it's Lucinda Williams. Her characters are simple people looking for simple pleasures: a little love (or lust), retribution, redemption, comfort, or at least a job. Yet in three minutes' time, she can make you see part of yourself in every character. It is why songwriters herald her as a genius even as radio, unable to pigeonhole her (is she country, pop, blues?), virtually ignores her.

Meticulous to a fault in her studio recordings, it is exciting to hear Williams in all her ragged glory on her first live CD. You can practically hear the dirt on her boots as she growls, wails, and slurs her way through the 22 cuts. While her live shows are often hit-or-miss affairs, she clearly wears her passion on her sleeve during these three Fillmore shows, and her band, especially guitarist Doug Pettibone, sizzles.

Half the songs on the two-disc set come from her most recent album, World Without Tears. Unfortunately, seminal classics, especially her Grammy-winning "Passionate Kisses," are sorely missed. Her "Austin City Limits" DVD, which borrows from her ultimate Americana CD, 1998's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, makes a good companion piece.