Lucinda Williams included only one song she didn’t write on her Car Wheels on a Gravel Road album—Weeks’s “Can’t Let Go.” That was the Minnesota singer/songwriter’s biggest claim to fame at the time of this debut’s release, but its contents suggest that more successes will follow.
Madeline is not a collection that wins you over right away. The lyrics are likable but not profound; Weeks’s vocals are more pleasant than distinctive, and the blues-tinged rock backup blazes no new trails. But somehow, the whole is more than the sum of its parts here. Weeks has crafted every song with care and loaded them with hooks galore. And one by one, these bare-bones rockers and ballads get into your head. Highlights include the dreamy title cut, the soulful “Baby You Got to Choose,” and the aforementioned “Can’t Let Go,” whose arrangement Lucinda Williams copied rather exactly.