Monday, May 16, 2011

My Ancient Life: Articles I Ripped Out of The New Yorker, 3--Lucinda Williams

Hey, kids: in the olden days, before the internet, if you wanted to “save” a magazine article, you didn’t bookmark it, you ripped it right out of the pages of the magazine (hopefully, this wasn’t a magazine you were reading at the doctor’s office or the library). I have a notebook of articles* I ripped out of various magazines, and while I’m away from the blog, I thought it might be interesting to look back at some of those that I took from The New Yorker:

*I have stories and poems too, but apparently those notebooks are buried somewhere in my scary storage area.

“Profiles: Delta Nights”
A singer’s love affair with loss
By Bill Buford
June 5, 2000
(unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing)

Ouch! you think after you’ve heard Lucinda Williams for the first time, this girl has gone through some shit. Her songs are not traditional rock and roll, if only because they are more written, more preoccupied with the concerns of language and image, than most rock tunes. They’re not country, although there is an occasional twangy country element. They’re not folk, even though “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” her 1998 album (and her first commercial success), got a Grammy award for the best contemporary-folk record of the year. And they’re not blues, even though they are informed by something that might be described as a blues attitude.

This quality of being both on thing and another (and yet another) is at the heart of Williams’s achievement—thus the knotty, contradictory labels she gets stuck with, like the blackest white girl in Louisiana (or the white woman with a black man’s soul), or Raymond Carver with a guitar (because of her stark narratives), or a female Hank Williams.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.