Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams to play Ann Arbor Folk FestivalWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucinda Williams has a lot to say about the title track of her 10th studio disc, “Blessed,” which is up for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album.
“The whole idea came from being in this little Mexican restaurant that Tom [Overby, my husband] and I go into a lot. There’s a girl who would come in selling roses. I don’t know why, but this line came out: ‘We were blessed by the girl selling roses.’
“Sometimes when you see someone like that, you know, selling roses in a restaurant, you think: ‘I wonder if they’re happy? Do they like what they do?’
“Sometimes I look at people like that, I just wonder about them, where they’re from and everything. It kind of started with that idea, and then sort of grew into this other idea.
“I guess ‘Blessed’ is kind of about different things. It’s kind of that and it’s also little hidden blessings that we might not notice … the way people maybe touch you in different ways you didn’t know as you go through life,” she said.
“And then the other part of the song is saying something positive coming out of a negative or there’s a life beyond this. … It’s hard to explain that song,” Williams said then laughed. “There are so many levels of it, and everybody can interpret it in different ways.”
She’s given many listeners a lot to think about since planting those memorable “Passionate Kisses” in 1988 and winning her first Grammy thanks to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s 1993 cover. Five years later, she turned “Car Wheels On a Gravel Road” and fans found they “Can’t Let Go” of Williams.
The singer-songwriter has been on cruise control since, motoring along and making music.
“I’ve got about 40 songs that are in different levels of formation, so [I’ve] got to get those finished. Tom’s been getting on me lately about it because he wants to try to get into the studio in March,” she said during a call from the couple’s Los Angeles home. “I’ve been coming up with just tons of ideas, tons of starting new songs, so it’s a matter of applying myself.”
The three-time Grammy Award winner finds inspiration everywhere.
“Since I am in a committed lifelong relationship, it’s really freed me up to explore other subject matter, you know, like child abuse and war and battered women — it just goes on and on — disease and death, a few joyous topics like that,” she joked. “But it helps me deal with stuff, too.”
Williams will play the Ann Arbor Folk Festival at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium. Tickets are sold out; call (734) 763-8587 to see if more become available.
It’ll be her birthday when she takes the stage.
“I have to have a good sense of humor about it since I’m going to be the big 6-0 — 60! I just can’t believe it; it sounds funny to say it,” she said.
The musician has accomplished a lot during her career. In 2002, TIME magazine named her “America’s best songwriter.”
She’s proud of her songs: “I’m in the same league now with other great songwriters, like Elvis Costello, Neil Young, even Bob Dylan — that’s pretty mind-blowing,” Williams said.
“I started listening to Bob Dylan when I was 12-and-a-half years old; now for people to compare me to him and everything, that’s pretty cool. That’s where the real satisfaction comes from.”