The object of cultish adoration for years, singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams was universally hailed as a major talent by both critics and fellow musicians, but it took quite some time for her to parlay that respect into a measure of attention from the general public. Part of the reason was her legendary perfectionism: Williams released records infrequently, often taking years to hone both the material and the recordings thereof. Yet her meticulous attention to detail and staunch adherence to her own vision were exactly what helped build her reputation. When Williams was at her best (and she often was), even her simplest songs were rich in literary detail, from her poetic imagery to her flawed, conflicted characters. Her singing voice, whose limitations she readily acknowledged, nonetheless developed into an evocative instrument that seemed entirely appropriate to her material.
In early 2014, Williams reissued her 1988 self-titled album with bonus material via funding from a Pledge Music campaign. If the crowdfunding campaign suggested Williams was moving away from the standard music business paradigm, she confirmed it by forming her own record label, Highway 20 Records, who released Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, an ambitious two-disc set that appeared in September 2014.