Lucinda Williams is the antidote for disposable youth culture. She’s the opposite of an ingenue – she has the wisdom and glamour of hard living. And she’s a living rebuke to anyone dumb enough to think that rock music is a game for young men. Williams didn’t even begin to experience to success until she was well into her forties. In 1998 she a breakout, a rising star, a hot new voice on the scene – all despite having been a working musician and recording artist for decades. Now 63, she’s established a niche for herself, with a loyal fanbase and the respect of peers and critics. She’s a roots musician at heart, intersecting Delta blues, honky tonk, gospel and confessional songwriting. And she’s done nothing but get better and better. Her writing is intimate, often painfully so, and it’s deeply moral. Not exactly religious – though she does have a taste for what I would call Southern Baptist Kitsch – and not even exactly spiritual, at least not in the sense that we expect music to be spiritual, i.e. uplifting and edifying. Her point of view is essentially sad; she writes about the sorrows of the world, from the personal to the broadly social. Empathy and forgiveness are big themes, as is grief, as is redemption, as is love. It’s an artistic vision that could only come from long years of down and out living, heartbreak, struggle, loss, and growth. A young woman could never have that much wisdom and gravitas.