Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Awwww, Lucinda, why?

I've always been kind of ambivalent about Lucinda Williams. I first heard of her when "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" came out, and the critics were falling all over her, so I got the CD and had a listen. The music, to me, was kind of meh, but I could see what she was aiming for (an alterna-country kind of vibe).

When I saw there was going to be an Austin City Limits rerun on TV the other night, featuring her, I decided to watch it. When the show first started, I thought, wow, she looks kind of out of it, and then I was like, "why does she keep looking down?" When the camera pulled back, I saw why. It was because she was using a cheat sheet. She had a binder with the lyrics in it on a stand in front of her, and she was reading the lyrics as she sang. And when each song finished up, she'd rip that lyrics page out of the binder and throw it on the floor, evidently so that she didn't, you know, accidentally sing the same song twice in a row. Although I kind of think her backup musicians would not have let that happen.

I don't know how common this is these days, but, well ....... I am NOT A FAN. Come ON, you WROTE the damn songs, you recorded them, you (presumably) made some money off of them, and now you're getting PAID to perform them, and yet those songs mean so little to you, these songs that you wrote, that you can't be bother to remember the words?

And it's not like she's got a huge back catalog to remember. She's put out, maybe, six or seven CDs, max, and yet she can't be bothered to remember the words to the songs from which she's making a living. Sheesh.


Bridgett said...

Mary Chapin Carpenter does this as well. She explains it as the way she can make herself get on stage -- she suffers from menopause-related memory blips and it was getting so that she was scared to go on stage at all because she worried that she'd blank out mid-song and people pay a lot of money to see her. She keeps the book open and on a stand off to the side as her "just in case" security blanket that allows her to function.

rockygrace said...

Makes sense, but it just seems like cheating, somehow.

Anonymous said...

Did she write her own songs? I know a lot of country and pop singers don't. I imagine if the song is truly heartfelt, it makes it a tad easier to remember the lyrics. I once saw a live performance of REM on TV and Michael Stipe had to keep the lyrics to "It's the End of the World" nearby. I think that's understandable given all the words in that song :)

rockygrace said...

She does some covers, but she mostly writes her own stuff.

And "It's the End of the World" is one of my favorite songs, ever, but I don't think ANYBODY knows all the words!