Lucinda Williams: Wikis


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Lucinda Williams

Williams at the Fillmore NYC October, 2009
Courtesy: Dina Regine
Background information
Born January 26, 1953 (1953-01-26) (age 56)
Origin Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres Folk, Country, Alternative country, Rock
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments vocals, guitar
Years active 1978–present
Labels Lost Highway
Rough Trade
Associated acts Buick 6
Elvis Costello
M. Ward

Lucinda Williams (born January 26, 1953[1]) is an American rock, folk, and country music singer and songwriter. She recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980 in a traditional country and blues style and received very little attention from radio, the media, or the public. In 1988, she released her self-titled album, Lucinda Williams. This release featured "Passionate Kisses", a song later recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter which garnered Lucinda her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994. Known for working slowly, Lucinda recorded and released only one other album in the next several years (Sweet Old World in 1992) before her greatest success came in 1998 with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. This album presented a broader scope of songs that fused rock, blues, country, and Americana into a more distinctive style that still managed to remain consistent and commercial in sound. It went gold and earned Lucinda another Grammy while being universally acclaimed by critics. Since Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, she has released a string of albums that have also been critically acclaimed, though none have sold in the numbers of her 1998 breakthrough. She was also named "America's best songwriter" by TIME magazine in 2002.[2]


Early life

Williams was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the daughter of poet and literature professor Miller Williams and an amateur pianist. Her parents divorced in the mid-1960s with Williams' father gaining custody of her and her younger brother and sister. Her father worked as a visiting professor in Mexico and different parts of the American South including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, and Utah before settling at the University of Arkansas. His daughter started writing when she was 6 years old and showed an affinity for music at an early age, and was playing guitar at 12. Williams's first live performance was in Mexico City at 17, as part a duo with her friend, a banjo player named Clark Jones.[3]



Early years

By her early 20s, Williams was playing publicly in Austin, Texas, and Houston, Texas, concentrating on a folk-rock-country blend. She moved to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1978 to record her first album, for Smithsonian/Folkways Records. Titled Ramblin', it was a collection of country and blues covers. She followed it up in 1980 with Happy Woman Blues, which consisted of her own material. Neither album received much attention.

In the 1980s, Williams moved to Los Angeles, California, (before finally settling in Nashville, Tennessee), where, both backed by a rock band and performing in acoustic settings, she developed a following and a critical reputation. While based in Los Angeles, she was briefly married to Long Ryders drummer Greg Sowders who she had met in a club. In 1988 Rough Trade Records released the self-titled Lucinda Williams, which was produced by Gurf Morlix. The single "Changed the Locks," about a broken relationship, received radio play around the country and gained fans among music insiders, including Tom Petty, who would later cover the song.

Its follow-up, Sweet Old World (Chameleon, 1992), also produced by Morlix, was a melancholy album dealing with themes of suicide and death. Williams' biggest success during the early 1990s was as a songwriter. Mary Chapin Carpenter recorded a cover of "Passionate Kisses" (from Lucinda Williams) in 1992, and the song became a smash country hit for which Williams received the Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994 (Chapin also received a Grammy for her performance of the song). She duetted with Steve Earle on the song "You're Still Standin' There" from his album I Feel Alright. In 1991, the song "Lucinda Williams" appeared on Vic Chesnutt's album West of Rome.

Williams had garnered considerable critical acclaim, but her commercial success was moderate. Emmylou Harris said of Williams, "She is an example of the best of what country at least says it is, but, for some reason, she's completely out of the loop and I feel strongly that that's country music's loss." Harris recorded the title track from Williams's Sweet Old World for her career-redefining 1995 album, Wrecking Ball.

Williams also gained a reputation as a perfectionist and slow worker when it came to recording; six years would pass before her next album release, though she appeared as a guest on other artists' albums and contributed to several tribute compilations during this period.

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

The long-awaited release, 1998's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, was Williams' breakthrough into the mainstream and received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Containing the single "Still I Long for Your Kiss" from the Robert Redford film The Horse Whisperer, the album received wide critical notice and soon went gold. The single "Can't Let Go" also enjoyed considerable crossover radio play. Williams toured with Bob Dylan and on her own in support of the album. An expanded edition of the album, including three additional studio recordings and a second CD documenting a 1998 concert, was released in 2006.

In 1999, Williams appeared on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, duetting with David Crosby on the title track of the tribute album.

Williams followed up the success of Car Wheels with Essence (2001). This release featured a less produced, more down-tuned approach both musically and lyrically, and moved Williams further from the country music establishment while winning fans in the alternative music world. She won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the single "Get Right With God", an atypically uptempo gospel-rock tune from the otherwise rather low-key release. The title track includes a contribution on Hammond organ by alternative country musician Ryan Adams.

Her seventh album, World Without Tears, was released in 2003. A musically adventurous though lyrically downbeat album, this release found Williams experimenting with talking blues stylings and electric blues.

Recent work

Lucinda Williams and Roots of Heaven in Haarlem, The Netherlands

In 2006, Williams recorded a version of the John Hartford classic "Gentle On My Mind", which played over the closing credits of the Will Ferrell film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Williams was a guest vocalist on the song "Factory Girls" from Irish punk-folk band Flogging Molly's 2004 album, "Within a Mile of Home", and appeared on Elvis Costello's The Delivery Man. She sings with folk legend Ramblin' Jack Elliott on the track "Careless Darling" from his 2006 release "I Stand Alone".

In 2007, Williams released West, for which she wrote more than 27 songs. The album was released on February 13, 2007. It addresses her mother's death and a tumultuous relationship break-up. Vanity Fair praised it, saying "Lucinda Williams has made the record of a lifetime – part Hank Williams, part Bob Dylan, part Keith Richards circa Exile on Main St. ..."

In the fall of 2007, Williams announced an unprecedented series of shows in Los Angeles and New York. Playing five nights in each city, it was the first time a major artist would perform her entire catalog on consecutive nights. These albums include the self titled Lucinda Williams, Sweet Old World, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Essence, and World Without Tears. Since these shows, other artists have imitated this idea in different variations, but to date no else has accomplished this exact feat. Each night also featured a second set with special guest stars. Some of the many special guests included Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Mike Campbell, Greg Dulli, E, Ann Wilson, Emmylou Harris, David Byrne, David Johansen, Yo La Tengo, John Doe, Chuck Prophet, Jim Lauderdale and Shelby Lynne. In addition, each night's album set was recorded and made available to the attendees that night. These live recordings are currently available on her website and at her shows.

In the spring of 2008, it was announced that the next album from Lucinda Williams wrapped recording in March. The new album is titled Little Honey and was released on October 14. It includes 13 new songs - among them, "Real Love" and "Little Rock Star," the latter inspired by music celebrities in the press, like Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse. "Little Honey" also includes a cover of AC/DC's "Long Way to the Top" and "Rarity," inspired by singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd.[4]

In July, 2008, though "Little Honey" had yet to be released, Paste listened to an advance copy and rated the duet between Williams and Elvis Costello on the song "Jailhouse Tears" as the #5 all time greatest country/rock duets.

Her recent concert appearance at the Catalyst, Santa Cruz, contained an announcement by the city's mayor that September 6th would henceforth be Lucinda Williams Day.

Engagement and Marriage

In 2006, Williams announced her engagement to former Best Buy music executive Tom Overby. Although she first told reporters the marriage would take place that year, she still described Overby as her fiancé in 2008. Professionally, Overby became her manager in May 2007.[5] Overby also co-produced "Little Honey".

On September 18, 2009, Williams performed at First Avenue in Minneapolis and married Overby on stage in front of her fans before her encore.


Charted songs

Year Song Adult Top 40 Triple A Album
2003 "Righteously" 36[6] World Without Tears
2008 "Real Love" 22[7] Little Honey

Studio albums

Year Album Chart Positions[8]
US CAN Country CAN UK AUS AUS Country Sweden
1979 Ramblin'
1980 Happy Woman Blues
1988 Lucinda Williams
1992 Sweet Old WorldA
1998 Car Wheels on a Gravel Road 65 14 144 69 5 60
2001 Essence 28 63 59 2 47
2003 World Without Tears 18 48 80 32 24
2005 Live @ The Fillmore 66 107 4 43
2007 West 14 30 53 5 10
2008 Little Honey 9 1 18 51 68 1 25


  • 2005 - Lucinda Williams - Live from Austin, TX
  • 11 Nov 2008 Lucinda Williams—Live From Austin TX ’89: her 13 Oct 1989 appearance on Austin City Limits (65 minutes):

(all songs composed by Williams except as noted) 1. Big Red Sun Blues 2. Wild and Blue [John Sherrill] 3. Am I Too Blue 4. Crescent City 5. Nothing in Rambling [Memphis Minnie] 6. The Night's Too Long 7. Abandoned 8.I Just Want To See You So Bad 9. Side of the Road 10. Price to Pay 11. Disgusted [Lil' Son Jackson] 12. Something About What Happens When We Talk 13. Passionate Kisses 14. Changed the Locks 15. Happy Woman Blues

Guest appearances

  • 2009 - M. Ward -- Oh Lonesome Me on "Hold Time"
  • 2008 - Various Artists -- Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys on "The Imus Ranch Record"
  • 2008 - Carrie Rodriguez -- Mask Of Moses on "She Ain't Me"
  • 2007 - Various Artists -- Honey Chile on "Goin' Home - A Tribute To Fats Domino"
  • 2007 - John Platania -- In Memory of Zapata on "Blues, Waltzes & Badland Borders"
  • 2006 - Tim Easton -- Back to the Pain on "Ammunition"
  • 2006 - Ramblin' Jack Elliott -- Careless Darling on "I Stand Alone"
  • 2006 - P.F. Sloan -- Sins of a Family on "Sailover"
  • 2006 - John Brannen -- A Cut So Deep on "Twilight Tattoo"
  • 2006 - Anne McCue -- Koala Motel
  • 2006 - Various Artists -- Bonnie Portmore on "Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys"
  • 2006 - Doug Pettibone -- Two of Us and She Belongs to Me both on "The West Gate"
  • 2005 - North Mississippi Allstars -- Hurry Up Sunrise on "Electric Blue Watermelon"
  • 2004 - Graham Parker -- Your Country
  • 2004 - Flogging Molly -- Factory Girls on Within a Mile of Home album
  • 2004 - Elvis Costello -- There's A Story In Your Voice on The Delivery Man
  • 2004 - Willie Nelson -- Overtime on It Always Will Be album
  • 2004 - Various Artists -- Pyramid of Tears on "Por Vida - A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo"
  • 2004 - Various Artists -- Down To The Well with Kevin Gordon on "No Depression: What It Sounds Like, Vol. 1"
  • 2004 - Tony Joe White -- Closing In On The Fire on "The Heroines"
  • 2003 - Various Artists -- Hang Down Your Head on "Crossing Jordan - Original Soundtrack"
  • 2003 - Terri Binion -- GayleAnne (Harmony vocal) on "Fool"
  • 2003 - Various Artists -- Hard Times Killing Floor Blues on "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: The Soul Of A Man"
  • 2003 - Colin Linden -- Don't Tell Me on "Big Mouth"
  • 2002 - Various Artists -- Lately on "Going Driftless: An Artist's Tribute to Greg Brown"
  • 2001 - Kasey Chambers -- "On A Bad Day" on Barricades & Brickwalls
  • 2001 - Matthew Ryan -- Devastation on "Concussion"
  • 2001 - Various Artists -- Cold, Cold Heart on "Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute"
  • 2001 - Ralph Stanley and Friends -- Farther Along on "Clinch Mountain Sweethearts
  • 2001 - Various Artists -- Nothin' on "A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt"
  • 2001 - Chip Taylor -- Could I Live With This and The Ship on "Black and Blue America"
  • 2001 - Various Artists -- Angels Laid Him Away on "Avalon Blues: A Tribute to the Music of Mississippi John Hurt"
  • 2000 - Sue Foley -- Empty Cup (Harmony vocals) on Love Comin' Down
  • 2000 - Kevin Gordon -- Down To The Well on "Down To The Well
  • 2000 - Chip Taylor -- The Ghost Of Phil Sinclair on "The London Sessions Bootleg"
  • 1999 - Leftover Salmon -- Lines Around Your Eyes on "The Nashville Sessions"
  • 1999 - Various Artists -- Return of the Grievous Angel w/ David Crosby on "Return Of The Grievous Angel: Tribute To Gram Parsons"
  • 1999 - John Prine -- Wedding Bells/Let's Turn Back The Years on "In Spite of Ourselves"
  • 1999 - Little Milton -- Love Hurts on "Welcome to Little Milton"
  • 1999 - Evie Sands -- Cool Blues Story on "Women in Prison"
  • 1999 - Chip Taylor -- Through Their Mother's Eyes and If I Don't Know Love both on "Seven Days in May...a love story"
  • 1999 - Bonepony -- Sweet Bye and Bye on "Traveler's Companion"
  • 1998 - Hayseed -- Precious Memories and Credo both on "Melic"
  • 1998 - Robbie Fulks -- Pretty Little Poison on "Let's Kill Saturday Night"
  • 1998 - Various Artists -- Here In California on "Treasures Left Behind: Remembering Kate Wolf"
  • 1998 - Nanci Griffith -- Wings Of A Dove on "Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back To Bountiful)"
  • 1998 - Various Artists -- Come to Me Baby on "Wolf Tracks: A Tribute to Howlin' Wolf"
  • 1997 - RB Morris -- Glory Dreams on "Take That Ride"
  • 1997 - Ray Wylie Hubbard -- The Ballad of the Crimson Kings on "Dangerous Spirits"
  • 1997 - Donnie Fritts -- Breakfast In Bed on "Everybody's Got a Song"
  • 1997 - Bo Ramsey -- Desert Flower on "In the Weeds"
  • 1996 - Various Artists -- The Night's Too Long on "Lone Star: Original Soundtrack From The Film"
  • 1996 - Steve Earle -- You're Still Standing There on "I Feel Alright"
  • 1995 - Terry Allen -- Room To Room and Black To Black from "Human Remains"
  • 1995 - Kieran Kane -- This Dirty Little Town on "Dead Rekoning"
  • 1995 - Chris Gaffney -- Cowboys To Girls on "Loser's Paradise"
  • 1994 - Various Artists -- You Don't Have Very Far To Go on "Tulare Dust: A Songwriter's Tribute to Merle Haggard"
  • 1994 - Various Artists -- Positively 4th Street on " In Their Own Words, Vol. 1 - Live Performances From the Bottom Line, New York City"
  • 1994 - Julian Dawson -- How Can I Sleep Without You on "How Human Hearts Behave"
  • 1993 - Various Artists -- Pancakes on "Born To Choose"
  • 1993 - Various Artists -- Main Road on "Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams"
  • 1993 - Jimmie Dale Gilmore -- Reunion on "Spinning Around the Sun"
  • 1992 - David Rodriguez -- Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) on "The True Cross"
  • 1990 - Various Artists -- Which Will on "True Voices"
  • 1990 - The Band of Blacky Ranchette -- Burning Desire on "Sage Advice"
  • 1988 - Various Artists -- Dark Side Of Life on "A Town South of Bakersfield, Vols. 1 & 2"

Awards and nominations


  • Grammys 2001 Best Female Rock Vocal Performance "Get Right with God"[10]
  • Grammys 1998 Best Contemporary Folk Album "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road"[1]
  • Grammys 1993 Best Country Song "Passionate Kisses" (songwriter - performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter)[11][12]


  • Grammys 2009 Best Americana Album "Little Honey"
  • Grammys 2007 Best Solo Rock Performance "Come On"
  • Grammys 2007 Best Rock Song "Come On"
  • Grammys 2003 Best Female Rock Vocal Performance "Righteously"
  • Grammys 2003 Best Contemporary Folk Album "World Without Tears"
  • Grammys 2003 Best Female Country Vocal Performance "Lately" (from Going Driftless - An Artists' Tribute to Greg Brown)
  • Grammys 2001 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance "Essence"
  • Grammys 2001 Best Female Country Vocal Performance "Cold, Cold Heart"
  • Grammys 2001 Best Contemporary Folk Album "Essence"
  • Grammys 1998 Best Female Rock Vocalist

See also


  1. ^ a b Lucinda Williams biography. Allmusic. Retrieved on October 7, 2008.
  2. ^ "'Essence' of the South". CNN/TIME. Retrieved on October 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Bukowski, Elizabeth. "Lucinda Williams" Salon. Retrieved on January 11, 2000.
  4. ^ Gamboa, Glenn. "With 'Honey,' life is sweet for Lucinda Williams". PopMatters. October 13, 2008.
  5. ^ Tom Overby].
  6. ^ Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks - Righteously. Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  7. ^ Triple A - Real Love. Billboard. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  8. ^ Artist Chart History Albums - Lucinda Williams. Billboard. Retrieved on October 7, 2008.
  9. ^ Heatseekers - Sweet Old World. Billboard. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  10. ^ "Grammys 2002: The winners". BBC News. February 28, 2002.
  11. ^ "Lucinda Williams chooses acclaim over fame any day". CNN. February 4, 1999.
  12. ^ "The Grammy Winners". The New York Times. March 3, 1994.

External links


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