Giovanni Russonello for THE NEW YORK TIMES –
The sensual and the spiritual have always been at play in the vocalist Lizz Wright’s music. On her new album, Grace, she adds to the scrum, mixing the sanctified with the political, the sexual with the social.
Cortez Franklin’s classic “Seems I’m Never Tired of Loving You,” taken at a slow, end-of-the-workday tromp, becomes a testimony of wearied patriotism. The title track, written by Rose Cousins as a torch song, is rendered here as a plea for collective ablution.
Ms. Wright recorded the album soon after last year’s presidential election. What had been planned as an ode to the American South became a declaration of redoubled faith, haunted by disappointment but not disillusion. “Grace” seems to draw its energy straight from the soil, with acoustic and electric guitars, organ and piano locked in an earthy symbiosis.
“Through this project, I really was sharing the same thing that I needed to remember myself,” Ms. Wright said in a phone interview. “I wanted to capture the sweetness of the South, and of my coming from it, and my experience of it.”