Song of the Day #82: ‘Side of the Road’ – Lucinda Williams

Lucinda Williams has a new album in stores today (Little Honey), so I’m celebrating the occasion by highlighting one of my all-time favorite songs — ‘Side of the Road’ from Williams’ classic self-titled album.

I discovered Williams 10 years ago, when Car Wheels on a Gravel Road was released to unanimous critical acclaim. I saw that album on every single year-end top ten list along with the tale of how it had taken her six years to record and release it because she was never quite happy enough to let it go.

I enjoyed it well enough after my first listen but something else must have come up because I set it aside and didn’t really think about it again for more than a year.

Then I stumbled upon a re-release of Lucinda Williams, her second album of original material. The liner notes said that more artists — particularly female artists — had been inspired by that album than probably any other in its genre. The biggest hit, ‘Passionate Kisses,’ went on to be an even bigger hit for Mary Chapin Carpenter, but for the most part Williams was destined to be one of those artists best known by critics and other musicians.

The album immediately captured me… every song is a winner. So I revisited Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and boy, I don’t know how it ever got past me the first time. That is without a doubt one of the ten best albums I own. And each of her other releases has been stellar. I can’t wait to see what Little Honey has in store.

‘Side of the Road’ is one of my favorite Lucinda Williams songs. It’s a simple tune about the need to get away, and I find it pretty much perfect.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #82: ‘Side of the Road’ – Lucinda Williams

  1. Dana says:

    I enjoy what I have heard of Lucinda Williams, although I must again confess that my general bias against country music keeps me from loving this song or reaching for Lucinda’s tunes more often.

  2. Amy says:

    A couple of summers ago, we had a “contest” pitting female artists against one another. Since I didn’t know Williams at all, Clay put together a compilation CD of what he considered her greatest songs (as I did for him of songs by Chapin-Carpenter and Joni Mitchell). I still play that CD. And I appreciate her music more with each listen. I look forward to your album review of the new one (which seems to be getting strong praise so far). If it’s as good as you expect it to be, I may have to add to my very slim Lucinda Williams collection.

  3. matt says:

    I love the “Lucinda Williams” album as well as Car Wheels, and Sweet Old World.
    Those three are my favorite of hers.
    I have enjoyed the more recent releases, but not as much as those three.

    Side Of The Road is one of those gems that makes you wonder how it is not more popular.

    PS Nice Site!
    I found it through the YouTube, Side Of The Road clip.
    I will be back.

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