May 24, 2024

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams has always followed her own standards, being a touch too country for rock ‘n’ roll and a little too rock ‘n’ roll for country.

Even when she had a stroke in November 2020, it hasn’t changed. Williams underwent arduous therapy, which eventually inspired her to write “Don’t Tell Anyone the Secrets I Told You,” her memoir, and “Stories from a Rock N Roll Heart,” her album. The latter, which was released earlier this summer, includes contributions from a number of artists, including Buddy Miller, Jeremy Ivey, Margo Price, Patti Scialfa, Jesse Malin, Angel Olsen, and Bruce Springsteen.

According to Williams, “the recovery part is really hard because you get impatient.” You want everything to happen at once.

Williams will begin her 2023 tour at Nashville, Tennessee’s famed Ryman Auditorium on Saturday, marking another recovery milestone.

Williams talked to the AP over the phone earlier this year about her recovery, her new forms of collaboration, and what lies next.

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This exchange has been condensed and adjusted for clarity.

WILLIAMS: Since I haven’t been able to play my guitar, I wasn’t able to compose the way I usually do. However, I was able to create a chord that was sufficient to produce a note, and I would then come up with an idea. Additionally, you know, my friends chipped in by playing the chords. It developed into a team effort and a collaboration. It was therefore in a way a mixed blessing. We produced tunes that we may not have otherwise.

Working with others turned out to be quite liberating because I had never really done it before.

WILLIAMS: Margo, we’ve started to get along extremely well. She resides in the same Nashville neighborhood as us. We were in the studio when I believe my husband Tom (Overby) proposed asking her if she’d be interested in singing some background vocals. She’s simply so much joy to be around and work with because she’s so genuinely excited. Angel Olsen then arrived in town already. She wasn’t a local. She is a resident of Asheville. She was in Nashville at the time we were recording, so she came in and added an incredibly lovely, little part voice to “Jukebox,” which, in my opinion, completely transforms the song.

People are simply amazed, Williams said. They find it hard to believe that I have been playing performances while also working in the studio. I mean, I continue to do the same things. I have sufficient management skills. I have a ton of excellent help. I play guitar and sing in a beautiful band with two outstanding guitarists.

WILLIAM: I agree. I practice the hand exercises that the physical therapist provided me. I sort of extend my fingers. I perform roughly 50 of those with my left hand each day. I also use my right hand occasionally, just in case. My left side of the body was primarily impacted. However, I simply try to think positively. Well, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to cross the room without falling over at some point, I keep thinking. But I managed to overcome that, you know.

WILLIAMS: I believe that Americana has finally gained traction in the rest of the world. I wish “folk rock” will come back.

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