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Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams (born January 26, 1953) is an American rock, folk, blues, 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 Williams her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994.Known for working slowly, Williams 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, an album presenting 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 Williams 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.Early yearsBy her early 20s, Williams was playing publicly in Austin 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, whom 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 (Carpenter 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 RoadThe 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 workIn 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 a series of shows in Los Angeles and New York. Playing five nights in each city, she performed 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. 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.The next album from Lucinda Williams wrapped recording in March 2008. Titled Little Honey, it was released on October 14 of that year. It includes 13 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.In July 2008, though "Little Honey" had yet to be released, Paste magazine.com listened to an advance copy and rated the duet between Williams and Elvis Costello on the song "Jailhouse Tears" as the No. 5 all time greatest country/rock duets.Williams released a cover of Shel Silverstein's famous song "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" in June 2010 as part of the Twistable, Turnable Man tribute album.Her 2008 concert appearance at the Catalyst, Santa Cruz, contained an announcement by the city's mayor that September 6 would henceforth be Lucinda Williams Day.On March 1, 2011, Williams released a new album, Blessed.In September 2012, she will be featured in a campaign called "30 Songs / 30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book.In 2012 and 2013 Williams went on US tour only accompanied by guitarist Doug Pettibone.Personal lifeIn 2006, Williams announced her engagement to former Universal Music Group/Fontana Distribution 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. 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.On September 19–20, 2010, Williams performed at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her father Miller Williams was in attendance and opened the September 19th show with remarks and poetry. The reason for the special shows, announced just days before, is unknown. The show dates do correspond to the first anniversary of her reported marriage.

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