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Lucinda Williams: World-Weary and Wise

Lucinda Williams.
Lucinda Williams.
Lucinda Williams in Studio on World Cafe - 04/17/2007

Though Lucinda Williams has been showered with acclaim and awards in the past decade, she spent the first 20 years of her career toiling on music's margins. She recorded Ramblin' and Happy Woman Blues in Mississippi in the late '70s, but reached only small pockets of fervent fans. It wasn't until the late '80s that she began to win over tastemakers and develop her reputation as a go-to songwriter.

Her self-titled 1988 album spawned a handful of radio hits, as well as support from the likes of Tom Petty and Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose 1994 cover of Williams' "Passionate Kisses" was a crossover country smash. The growing support helped Williams break through to the mainstream — and culminated in the 1998 release of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. On the new West, Williams crafts another collection of wise, world-weary observations, set to lovely roots-pop arrangements.

This segment originally aired on Apr. 17, 2007.

Copyright 2007 XPN

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David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.