|Birth name||Lucinda Gayle Williams|
|Born||January 26, 1953|
Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.
Lucinda Gayle Williams(born January 26, 1953) is an American rock, folk and country music singer, songwriter and musician.
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. Her commercial breakthrough 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 distinctive style that remained consistent and commercial in sound. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which includes the Grammy nominated track "Can't Let Go", became Williams' greatest commercial success to date. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and earned Williams a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, while being universally acclaimed by critics. Williams released the critically acclaimed Essence three years later, and the album also became a commercial success. One of the album's tracks, "Get Right with God", earned Williams the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance in 2002.
Williams has released a string of albums since that have earned her more critical acclaim and commercial success. She has won three Grammy Awards, from 15 nominations, and received two Americana Awards, from 12 nominations. Additionally, Williams ranked No. 97 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll in 1998,she was named "America's best songwriter" by Time magazine in 2002, and was chosen by Rolling Stone as the 79th greatest songwriter of all time.
Williams was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the daughter of poet and literature professor Miller Williams and an amateur pianist, Lucille Fern Day. Her parents divorced in the mid-1960s. Williams's father gained custody of her and her younger brother, Robert Miller, and sister, Karyn Elizabeth. Like her father, she has spina bifida.Her father worked as a visiting professor in Mexico and different parts of the United States, including Baton Rouge; New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and Utah before settling at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Williams never graduated from high school but was accepted into the University of Arkansas. Williams started writing when she was 6 years old. She 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 of a duo with her friend, a banjo player named Clark Jones.
By her early 20s, Williams was playing publicly in Austin and Houston, Texas, concentrating on a blend of folk, rock and country. She moved to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1978 to record her first album, for Smithsonian/Folkways Records. Titled Ramblin' on My Mind , it was a collection of country and blues covers. The album title was shortened to Ramblin' when it was reissued. 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, at times backed by a rock band and at others 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, is 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.
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, the Allman Brothers and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 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, she 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 features 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 a 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.
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 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 .
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.
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 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.
Her 2008 concert appearance at the Catalyst, Santa Cruz, contained an announcement by the city's mayor that September 6, 2008 would henceforth be Lucinda Williams Day[ citation needed ].
Williams released a cover of Shel Silverstein's "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" in June 2010 as part of the Twistable, Turnable Man tribute album.
On March 1, 2011, Williams released the album Blessed .
In September 2012, she was 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 U.S. tour accompanied only by guitarist Doug Pettibone.
On September 30, 2014, Williams released her eleventh studio album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone , the first album on her Highway 20 Records label.
In 2015, Williams provided backup vocals for the Don Henley song "Train in the Distance" on his album Cass County.
On February 5, 2016, Williams released the album The Ghosts of Highway 20 and performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on February 17, 2016.
In May 2017, Williams was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music during the 2017 Commencement Concert.In June, Rolling Stone named Williams one of the 100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time. Later that year, she re-recorded and expanded her 1992 Sweet Old World album, this time titled This Sweet Old World .
On June 29, 2018, Blue Note Records released Vanished Gardens by Charles Lloyd & the Marvels which features Lucinda on five tracks.Marvels members Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz have previously worked with Williams, including on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road .
In 2019, Williams co-produced New York singer/songwriter Jesse Malin's LP Sunset Kids and co-wrote three tracks on the album. She also performs on three tracks of Sunset Kids .
On February 4, 2020, Williams announced her new album Good Souls Better Angels will be released on April 23. In the same Rolling Stone article, Williams released the first single from the album, "Man Without a Soul", which strongly alludes to President Donald Trump.At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, Good Souls Better Angels received a nomination for Best Americana Album and songwriters Williams and Tom Overby received a nomination in the Best American Roots Song category for "Man Without a Soul".
On March 19, 2020 Williams released a song she wrote for the Netflix movie Lost Girls , titled "Lost Girl".
During the 1980s, Williams was briefly married to Long Ryders drummer Greg Sowders. In September 2009 she married Tom Overby, an executive from Best Buy's music department, who is also her manager. The marriage ceremony was performed on stage at First Avenue by her father.
|US||CAN||UK|| AUS ||AUS Country||SWE||NL|
|1980||Happy Woman Blues||—||—||—||149||—||—||—|
|1988||Lucinda Williams A||39||—||—||117||—||—||—|
|1992||Sweet Old World B||—||—||—||134||—||—||—|
|1998||Car Wheels on a Gravel Road C||65||—||144||69||5||60||—|
|2003||World Without Tears||18||—||48||80||32||24||81|
|2005||Live @ The Fillmore||66||—||107||110||4||43||—|
|2014||Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone||13||—||23||32||—||58||31|
|2016||The Ghosts of Highway 20||36||53||33||20||—||28||21|
|2017||This Sweet Old World||—||—||—||297||—||—||—|
|2020||Good Souls Better Angels||144||—||30||—||—||—||—|
|2021||Runnin' Down a Dream: A Tribute to Tom Petty||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Dash denotes releases that did not chart.|
|Year||Song|| US Adult ||US Triple A|| AUS ||Album|
|1989||"Changed the Locks"||—||—||—||Lucinda Williams|
|1989||"Night's Too Long"||—||—||—|
|1989||"I Just Wanted to See You So Bad"||—||—||122|
|1992||"Hot Blood"||—||—||—||Sweet Old World|
|1992||"Six Blocks Away"||—||—||170|
|1993||"Lines Around Your Eyes"||—||—||146|
|1998||"Can't Let Go"||—||14||—||Car Wheels on a Gravel Road|
|1998||"Right in Time"||—||—||—|
|2001||"Get Right with God"||—||—||—|
|2003||"Righteously"||36||8||—||World Without Tears|
|2007||"Are You Alright?"||—||24||—||West|
|2008||"Real Love"||—||22||297||Little Honey|
|2014||"Burning Bridges"||—||—||—||Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone|
|2016||"Just a Little More Faith and Grace"||—||—||—||The Ghosts of Highway 20|
|2020||"Man Without a Soul"||—||—||—||Good Souls Better Angels|
|"You Can't Rule Me"||—||40||—|
The Americana Awards are presented annually by the Americana Music Association and celebrate outstanding achievement in Americana music. Williams is one of the most nominated artists in the history of the awards show with 12, including 2 wins.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2003||—||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|"Righteously"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|2007||West||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|—||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|"Are You Alright?"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|2011||Blessed||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|—||Lifetime Achievement Award (songwriting)||Honored|
|2015||Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone||Album of the Year||Won|
|—||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|"East Side of Town"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|2016||The Ghosts of Highway 20||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|—||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States for outstanding achievements in the record industry. Williams has received three awards in three separate categories (country, folk and rock) from 17 nominations that span five genres (pop, rock, country, folk and Americana).
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1993||"Passionate Kisses" (songwriter)||Best Country Song||Won|
|1999||"Can't Let Go"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|Car Wheels on a Gravel Road||Best Contemporary Folk Album||Won|
|2002||"Cold, Cold Heart"||Best Female Country Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|"Essence"||Best Female Pop Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|"Get Right with God"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Won|
|Essence||Best Contemporary Folk Album||Nominated|
|2003||"Lately" (from Going Driftless – An Artists' Tribute to Greg Brown)||Best Female Country Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|2004||"Righteously"||Best Female Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|World Without Tears||Best Contemporary Folk Album||Nominated|
|2008||"Come On"||Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance||Nominated|
|Best Rock Song||Nominated|
|2010||Little Honey||Best Americana Album||Nominated|
|2011||"Kiss Like Your Kiss" (from True Blood )||Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media||Nominated|
|2012||Blessed||Best Americana Album||Nominated|
|2021||"Man Without A Soul"||Best American Roots Song||Nominated|
|Good Souls Better Angels||Best Americana Album||Nominated|
The American folk/rock band Augustana references the musician in the song "Meet You There", on their studio album Can't Love, Can't Hurt . The lyrics state, "Just put on Lucinda, Baby, and dance with me."
She is also referenced by the character Kathleen "Kat" Hall played by Mireille Enos in the film If I Stay .
"Lucinda Williams" is the title of a song on the album "West of Rome" by Vic Chesnutt.
Victoria Williams is an American singer, songwriter and musician, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, United States, although she has resided in Southern California throughout her musical career. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the early 1990s, Williams was the catalyst for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
Emmylou Harris is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She has released dozens of albums and singles over the course of her career and has won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, and numerous other honors, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2018, she was presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jamesetta Hawkins, known professionally as Etta James, was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as "The Wallflower", "At Last", "Tell Mama", "Something's Got a Hold on Me", and "I'd Rather Go Blind". She faced a number of personal problems, including heroin addiction, severe physical abuse, and incarceration, before making a musical comeback in the late 1980s with the album Seven Year Itch.
Dwight David Yoakam is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor, known for his pioneering style of country music. First becoming popular in the mid-1980s, Yoakam has recorded more than 20 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 30 million records. He has recorded five Billboard No. 1 albums, twelve gold albums, and nine platinum albums, including the triple-platinum This Time.
John Edward Prine was an American country folk singer-songwriter. He was active as a composer, recording artist, live performer, and occasional actor from the early 1970s until his death, and was known for an often humorous style of original music that has elements of protest and social commentary.
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. It was recorded and co-produced by Williams in Nashville, Tennessee and Canoga Park, California, before being released on June 30, 1998, by Mercury Records. The album features guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.
Guy Charles Clark was an American folk and country singer-songwriter and luthier. He released more than 20 albums, and his songs have been recorded by other artists, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Kathy Mattea, Lyle Lovett, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson. He won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album: My Favorite Picture of You.
Rosanne Cash is an American singer-songwriter and author. She is the eldest daughter of country musician Johnny Cash and Vivian Liberto Cash Distin, Johnny Cash's first wife. Although she is often classified as a country artist, her music draws on many genres, including folk, pop, rock, blues, and most notably Americana. In the 1980s, she had a string of genre-crossing singles that entered both the country and pop charts, the most commercially successful being her 1981 breakthrough hit "Seven Year Ache", which topped the U.S. country singles chart and reached the Top 30 on the U.S. pop chart.
Rodney Crowell is an American musician, known primarily for his work as a singer and songwriter in country music. Crowell has had five number one singles on Hot Country Songs, all from his 1988 album Diamonds & Dirt. He has also written songs and produced for other artists.
Joshua Hayes Carll, known professionally as Hayes Carll, is a singer-songwriter. A native of The Woodlands, Texas, his style of roots-oriented songwriting has been noted for its plainspoken poetry and sarcastic humor.
Maria Muldaur is an American folk and blues singer who was part of the American folk music revival in the early 1960s. She recorded the 1973 hit song "Midnight at the Oasis" and continues to record albums in the folk, blues, early jazz, gospel, country, and R&B traditions.
World Without Tears is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. It was released on April 8, 2003, by Lost Highway Records. The album was a widespread critical success and sold 415,000 copies by 2008.
Lucinda Williams is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. It was produced by Williams with Dusty Wakeman and Gurf Morlix, and released in 1988 by Rough Trade Records. An alternative country and roots rock record about the complexities of romantic relationships, Lucinda Williams was met with critical acclaim upon its release and has since been viewed as a leading work in the development of the Americana movement.
William Bell is an American soul singer and songwriter. As a performer, he is probably best known for his debut single, 1961's "You Don't Miss Your Water"; 1968's top 10 hit in the UK "Private Number", a duet with Judy Clay; and his only US top 40 hit, 1976's "Tryin' to Love Two", which also hit No. 1 on the R&B chart. Upon the death of Otis Redding, Bell released the well-received memorial song "A Tribute to a King".
Bettye LaVette is an American soul singer-songwriter who made her first record at sixteen, but achieved only intermittent fame until 2005, when her album I've Got My Own Hell to Raise was released to widespread critical acclaim, and was named on many critics' "Best of 2005" lists. Her next album, The Scene of the Crime, debuted at number one on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart and was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Courtney Marie Andrews is an American singer-songwriter originally from Phoenix, Arizona, United States. She released her first widely distributed and breakthrough album, Honest Life, in 2016. From 2010 to 2011, Andrews was an auxiliary member of Jimmy Eat World, appearing on their 2010 album Invented and acting as their keyboardist and backing vocalist on the subsequent tour.
Mollie O'Brien is an Americana, bluegrass, R&B, and folk singer from Wheeling, West Virginia. She has released a number of Americana albums with her brother, Grammy-winner Tim O'Brien. She has also released five positively received solo albums. She is currently based in Denver, and regularly tours and performs with her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, as a duo. Together they have released one studio album, Saints and Sinners and a live CD, 900 Baseline. She has regularly appeared on shows such as A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and contributed vocals to the Grammy-winning album True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe. She is known for her interpretations of classic songs by artists such as Tom Waits, Memphis Minnie, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, Si Kahn, Terence Trent D'Arby, and Kate MacLeod.
Amy Helm is an American singer-songwriter and daughter of The Band drummer Levon Helm and singer Libby Titus. She is a past member of the Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble Band and Ollabelle, as well as her own touring band.
This Sweet Old World is a 2017 album by American roots musician Lucinda Williams. A re-recording of her 1992 album Sweet Old World, Williams was motivated to revisit the older material by her husband and manager Tom Overby, who co-produced the album with her. The release has received positive reviews.
Good Souls Better Angels is a 2020 studio album by American singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, released on Thirty Tigers. Announced in February for an April 24 release, it was preceded by the track "Man Without a Soul", a critique of Donald Trump. It has received positive reviews from critics.