Three-time Grammy Award winner, Lucinda Williams has been carving her own path for more than three decades now and will headline Saturday June 29th at the Annual Blues from the Top Music festival in Hideaway Parks Rendezvous Event Center.
Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Williams had been saturated with a “culturally rich, economically poor” worldview. Several years of playing the hardscrabble clubs gave her a solid enough footing to record a self-titled album that would become a touchstone for the embryonic Americana movement – helping launch a thousand musical ships along the way.
While not a huge commercial success at the time Lucinda Williams (aka, the Rough Trade album) retained a cult reputation, and finally got the reception it deserved upon its reissue in 2014. Jim Farber of New York’s Daily News hailed the reissue by saying “Listening again proves it to be that rarest of beasts: a perfect work. There’s not a chord, lyric, beat or inflection that doesn’t pull at the heart or make it soar.”
For much of the next decade, Williams moved around the country, stopping in Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, and turning out work that won immense respect within the industry (winning a Grammy for Mary Chapin Carpenter’s version of “Passionate Kisses”) and a gradually growing cult audience. While her recorded output was sparse for a time, the work that emerged was invariably hailed for its indelible impressionism — like 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which notched her first Grammy as a performer.
The past decade brought further development, both musically and personally, evidenced on albums like West (2007), which All Music Guide called “flawless…destined to become a classic” and Blessed (2011), which the Los Angeles Times dubbed “a dynamic, human, album, one that’s easy to fall in love with.” Those albums retained much of Williams’ trademark melancholy and southern Gothic starkness, but also exuded more rays of light and hope. This all lead to the 2014 release of Williams’ first double studio album Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone. The album received overwhelming praise from the media and fans, thus proving that Williams’ songwriting is as strong and important as it has ever been.
Lucinda Williams had been knocking around the music business for two decades by the time she released Car Wheels on a Gravel Road in the summer of 1998. By that point she had released four other solo albums, but she was still best known as the writer behind the Mary Chapin Carpenter hit “Passionate Kisses.” It was a time when country was going in an aggressively pop direction thanks to the enormous success of Shania Twain’s Come On Over, and Top 40 was just beginning to be consumed by the likes of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.
It wasn’t a great environment for an under-the-radar alt-country album chronicling the bitter dissolution of a relationship, but the songs on Car Wheels were so undeniably brilliant that the world was forced to take notice. The album never went higher than Number 65 on the Billboard 200, but the reviews were rapturous and it won her a huge following that has stayed with her to this day. The album is now widely seen as one of the single best albums of the 1990s.
Williams is currently touring the world in a 20 year anniversary celebration of Car Wheel and will making a stop in Colorado at the Annual Blues Festival thanks to the work of the Grand County Blues Society. The weekend will highlight a collection of blues artists and top acts on tour. Support the blues.
Tickets are available at BluesFromTheTop.org.