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Lucinda Williams Lives Happy, Writes Sad

Of the Oakland Press

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Lucinda Williams’ life is good. But you might not know it from listening to her new album, “West.”

The celebrated singer-songwriter is comfortably living in Los Angeles, writing songs “like a fiend” and is engaged to be married to music industry executive Tom Overby. But on “West’s” 13 tracks, Williams deals with the death of her mother as well as a couple of romantic breakups.

Clearly Williams, 53, isn’t about to let happiness get in the way of those sad songs she does so well.

“There’s always going to be the pain and suffering. That’s just part of life,” she explains. “Your outside structure of your life shouldn’t affect how you create art. However much money you have or who you’re with or how big your house is or anything, there’s always gonna be quite a bit of pain and suffering to write about — just look around.

“This whole idea that people are too happy to write is, I dunno — an excuse, I think, for lack of inspiration, ’cause the inspiration comes from within.”

And Williams is certainly happy with “West,” which was produced by Hal Wilner last year after she abandoned a group of songs she began working on in 2005 in order to get a better lead on the album’s direction. Now, Williams says, she’s created “the record I’ve always wanted to make,” one that she feels places her beyond the Americana tag she’s carried since early in her career.

“I’d like it to be that when people hear my name, they don’t try to categorize my music,” she explains. “I want them to say, ‘That’s Lucinda Williams,’ just like they say, ‘That’s Bob Dylan.’ They don’t worry if he’s country, folk or rock. He’s done all the above. Same thing with Neil Young.

“That’s what I’d like to see happen for me, and I think it is. I think I’ve finally, hopefully, arrived at that point where I’ll just be accepted no matter what I decide to do.”

Lucinda Williams and Carrie Rodriguez perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday (April 15th) at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are sold out. Call (734) 668-8463 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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