Please please please understand, I don’t even think I like country music. And I don’t. I don’t think. I don’t like it. Not in the conventional, twangy, my-dog-done-died-from-drinkin’-my-moonshine kind of way. And on a more modern level, I sure don’t dig me no Toby Keith, but that’s more for political reasons, even though it didn’t stop me from watching the entirety of a special on him on CMT (I just stumbled over it accidentally, so stop looking at me like that). And I like the Dixie Chicks a lot more in magazines than I do in their fiddle-happy reality.
But I seriously love me some Lucinda Williams.
If you don’t know who she is, you’re not alone. I’d never heard of her until Tracie got two tickets to a concert in New Haven and informed me I was the other ticketholder. And though I maintained a pretty strict anti-New-Haven policy for reasons I can’t go into here in any great detail, I was willing to go because the concert was scheduled to have taken place in late May, when no one was supposed to be in the city limits of New Haven except me, Tracie, and Lucinda.
Cut to Lucinda getting too whacked out on booze and crank — or whatever it is that results in a bonafide rock star canceling a tour date — and the concert getting moved to October. There was no part of me that wanted to be in New Haven in October. Nothing nothing no part nowhere nothing. There were a lot of compelling reasons for me to be anywhere but New Haven that night, in fact. For example, watching Boston beat Oakland to advance to the ALCS. For example, it was already sixteen degrees below zero, Kelvin. For example, it was Yom Kippur and I was SO not honoring the true rock star of that holiday, The Lord. For example, not being in New Haven just because is usually a better idea than being in New Haven. Other than that, it’s a lovely little city.
Except for Lucinda. She’s a rocker. And a thinker. And a lover. And a fighter. And she speaks of the pompatus of love, without employing words as stupid as “pompatus.” She does this often with three chords. She’s as famous as Sheryl Crow in a dimension juuuuuuust off this one, one that you can see when you squint your eyes ever so slightly and you can feel in your joints when the weather is damp. And yes: she’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Deal with it.
And, on a day when I’m trapped in a Starbucks in Massapequa working, Lucinda is here on my headphones to drown out the twenty-four hour marathon of Christmas carols. And in this Christmas-burnout time of year in which I’d prefer the dulcet song stylings of a guy playing a saw to the five billionth iteration of Annie Lennox singing “Winter Wonderland,” I don’t have to resort to the guy with the saw. Because I have Lucinda Williams. Go buy “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.” Your life will change forever.
Just get it. Stop reading. Your life is slipping away. Do you have it yet? What about now?
This post saved me from a rather long dissertation about how I sing Christmas carols for a living in December. Thank you, Lucinda, for saving me that humiliation. Merry Christmas, Lucinda.