Lucinda Williams was the only one of three siblings to call her father this past father’s day. She still grieves her mother’s death, and still gets upset when she thinks of her estranged brother. But, at age 58, Williams says she feels more blessed than ever before: she’s found her soul mate, she’s receiving acclaim for her newest album and project, Blessed, and she’s about to tour one of her favourite places in the world: Canada — with a stop in our very own Victoria this Monday.
“My perspectives have changed a lot as I get older, and so when people comment on how different one album is from the last, I have to say, of course it is,” says Williams. “My music is a direct reflection of where I am at in life, and I never sit down and plan out what an album is going to say. It’s just an organic process, that comes out the way it does.”
From her albums in the late ’70s, to her 2011 release, Williams has been hailed as one of the last great purists of folk, blues, rock-and-roll, even classic country. That integrity, she says, comes from never relinquishing control over what you’re producing, as well as letting yourself grow with your craft.
“People say that when you get successful your creativity goes out the window, and that’s just crap,” she says. “If you’re an artist, you’re an artist for life. Some people lose things, but that’s something else. No amount of money, or lack thereof, can take it away from you.”
While Williams packs each album with enough honesty and emotion to strike any heart, she’s never been afraid to feel her way through a performance — even if that means singing past the tears.
“I know I’ve got a really good one [song] when it makes me cry, and when I can go back to that song and it still grabs me,” she says, adding that “Blessed” is one of those songs for her right now.
That said, her favourite all-time song remains “My Sunny Valentine,” she says, especially the Rickie Lee Jones version.
Still, Victoria audiences can expect to be surprised — Williams never decides what she’ll play until performance day, and she says she always finds ways to keep things fresh.
“I guess I’ve always been a natural rebel of sorts, and I’ve always treated everything I’m doing in my life with the same passion and energy,” she says. “I have to write to deal with things, and that’s what true art is all about — expressing those things that can be so hard to figure out.” M
Williams will be performing as part of the TD Victoria Jazzfest, Monday, June 27, at Royal Theater (805 Broughton) 7:30pm. Tickets: $45 to $55