Lucinda Williams culls inspiration from a lifetime of highs and lows.Lucinda Williams doesn’t buy the myth that great art is born out of great suffering. Best known for her finely etched songs of unrequited love and longing, Williams is enjoying some personal contentment of late, having married her producer/manager, Tom Overby, in 2009 (on stage, to boot) while continuing to occupy a place as a Grammy favorite and critic’s darling.
Despite all that, Williams’ latest album, Blessed (Lost Highway, $18), doesn’t find her lacking for inspiration. “Happiness is all relative,” Williams says. “There’s outward happiness: You have a nice house, and you’re married and all that. And then there’s the inward stuff that you always struggle with.”
Williams ended up penning enough material for a double album. Co-producer Don Was, who has worked on projects with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, helped winnow the songs down to the 12 chosen for the finished disc. “I’ve gotten more prolific in the last five or six years or so,” Williams explains. “My mother’s death probably had something to do with that — [it] spurred a lot of writing, a lot of emotions. But it’s also a combination of age, wisdom and experience. I’ve just gotten better at my craft.”
Also aiding Williams on Blessed is a crew of notable talents, including Elvis Costello, who contributes guitar on “Seeing Black.”
Though at 58, Williams has reached a happy place in her life, she says her songs work like a time machine, transporting her back in time. “Even if I’m performing something from 20 years ago, I can immediately connect with the feeling I had when I wrote it,” she says. “For me, that’s always the mark of a good song.”