Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Monday, November 07, 2011

To Lucinda Williams at the Town Ballroom last night, the first time we've seen her live. That's somewhat surprising when I think about it-- my brother introduced me to her work long ago. I suppose part of it may be that for a while the only way to see her was in larger venues, which I tend to disfavor, but this was perfect. She was backed by a crackerjack trio, which sweetened even her more lachrymose material. My, my, as beautiful as I find her work, I think A captured it well when she turned to me at about mid-set and said, "Now for some sad songs." You can't be a Lucinda Williams follower without following her personal life-- it is all right there, right out in front. Some bad boyfriends died, she was mad and brokenhearted about some others, and even people that she liked but didn't date seem to come to unfortunate ends. At one point she announced that she was going to do a Dylan number, and I thought, "This will be excellent." It was, but seriously, is there a more lugubrious Dylan song than "Trying to Get to Heaven"? ("Knocking on Heaven's Door", maybe?) It is a strange thing to watch her adoring audience mouthing the words to these raw songs about painful heartbreak, even moreso because we all are given to understand that she is in a good place right now, happily married to her manager, a fellow named Tom Overby. Unless I am mistaken Mr. Overby was very much in evidence at this performance, a tall, thin man in a suit and tie who helped her with changing guitars, and brought out cups of water, and turned the pages on her music stand. His solicitude was touching-- when you listen to Lucinda Williams you always want the best for her; and in a way it made her seem even more vulnerable. She's a tougher looking chick in person than I'd have guessed-- she kinda looked like she'd kick your ass if you looked at her funny in a bar, in jeans, a leather vest, and a belt with a Harley buckle. On the other hand she seemed to be moving stiffly, leading A to guess that she might have been having back problems. In any event, she turned in a terrific and endearing set, good as I'd expected.

| Comments:
A nailed the guitar player's Bill Frisell sound as did Jeff Miers.

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