Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams is marking the recent 20th anniversary of Car Wheels On A Gravel Road with a select number of UK dates, performing the album in its entirety. First stop is The Barbican in London, with additional Gravel Road shows taking place in Brighton, Holmfirth and Birmingham alongside sets at the Cambridge Folk Festival and Wickham Festival.
The Barbican Hall is a fitting setting for this event. The modestly dressed stage is dominated by a huge screen above and behind Lucinda and her band Buick 6, and throughout the evening shows projections of photos from Lucinda’s life, and other imagery that illustrates the songs. As she tells us towards the end of the night, “This is really about looking back and having strong connections with your roots”.
Between songs Lucinda gives us glimpses into her lyrical inspiration, revisiting memories of family and childhood, locations that have left their mark, and romantic relationships that didn’t work out. We hear about her leaving Texas for LA, and diving into the music industry: “They didn’t know what to do with me because my music fell in the cracks between Country and Rock – which is now a cool thing”.
There’s enough detail in these walks down memory lane, in turn entertaining, poignant and raw, to keep the audience spellbound. With a new album in progress and a memoir due to be published in 2020, there are many more stories to be told.
Photography & Words by Trudi Knight – Lucinda Williams at The Barbican on 28th July 2019.