Sometimes in pop music, they have to invent a new category — a new genre — in order to describe a singular artist’s musical approach. It happened with Elvis (Rock & Roll), Ray Charles (Soul), Bob Dylan (Folk Rock) and The Sex Pistols and their mid-1970s British brethren (Punk).
While it would be an overstatement to say Americana was invented solely to describe Lucinda Williams’ groundbreaking mixture of literate singer/songwriter Folk and bluesy, energized Country Rock, delivered with a twangy and soulful enunciation, she had a lot to do with its creation.
For years, Williams had trouble finding radio airplay and record labels, despite the worth of her material.
“I had a hard time getting a record deal at first because my stuff fell in the cracks between Country and Rock,” she says during a recent phone interview. “They didn’t have Americana then, or AltRock or AltCountry. That was just before the Rough Trade album came out in the late-1980s. I got a lot of interest from labels, but I couldn’t get signed for anything. They just didn’t know how to market it.”
Folksy songwriting goddess Lucinda Williams swings through PNC Pavilion Friday for a night of rocking Americana. Go here to read Steven Rosen's full interview.