Lucinda Williams at City Winery - Singer, Songwriter, and Living Legend

Lucinda Williams

It has been over a decade since I have last seen singer/ songwriter Lucinda Williams perform.  Last time it was on New Year’s Eve at a peeling and faded Uptown joint.  I remember the place rather well for its dank, gloomy smell and the crowd which seemed unworthy of anything better.  Everything else about the night was drunk away and I really remember little about Lucinda's performance.

Lucinda Williams at City Winery

City Winery (1200 W. Randolph) is quite the step up from the dives I have known before.  Not only does the place have an extensive wine list, it actually offers up its own harvest.  Sort of; the juice is imported but the wine breathes in stainless steel vats ready to be poured straight into a customer’s Riedel glassware.   And if the crowd last night was not entirely sober, they were more than appreciative of the living legend on stage.  And appreciative they should be for it is not every day that a three time Grammy award winning artist like Lucinda Williams performs in such an intimate setting.

Lucinda Williams and Doug Pettibone

Not a natural stage presence, Lucinda nonetheless put in a commanding performance worthy of her reputation.  For almost two hours, Lucinda worked from an extensive song book of both favorites and new material.  Some of the material performed on stage was so new she had not yet got around to picking out a song title.  No matter, the audience was maybe even more receptive, to her new musings than to her more familiar offerings. 

Doug Pettibone

Backing her up on stage was guitar legend Doug Pettibone who effortlessly complemented Lucinda’s own stellar guitar play.  Standout songs played from the night included Blue, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Drunken Angel, Essence, Joy, and Sweet Side.   By the end of the night, the opening band joined Lucinda and Doug on stage to deliver a rousing rendition of Get Right With God.  I could not imagine a better send off.

The Kenneth Brian Band

Opening for Lucinda Williams was the Kenneth Brian Band who thankfully offered guitar licks sharper than their Cowboy duds.  Haunting melodies and intelligent lyrics put this duo (plus one or two friends who periodically hopped on stage) a cut above the typical bar band.  I especially enjoyed their original song Something Better.  In a night of rhythm and blues it was refreshing to hear something that just plain rocked.

For information about City Winery including upcoming shows, click here

Top photo courtesy of 

All other photos by Noel Schecter



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