Lucinda Williams opens her new album The Ghosts of Highway 20 LP with the dark, melancholic "Dust," which she performed on Tuesday's Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Williams' scarred vocals are right at home with the tune about "a sadness so deep the sun seems black," and as the five-minute meditation reaches its near-epic conclusion the clouds threaten to part — but they don't quite.
Still, in spite of the apparitions that cast shadows on Ghosts of Highway 20, her album and live performances — including this one — are lifted by exemplary contributions from her band.
Although she now resides in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter who was raised in Louisiana and Mississippi remains deeply connected to her Southern identity.
"I have a certain Southern Gothic sensibility," Williams tells Rolling Stone Country. "I related to Flannery O'Connor at a young age. My mother's father was a fire-and-brimstone Methodist preacher. I saw a lot of that kind of thing growing up, and I read about it in O'Connor. Her writing was really dark but also ironic and humorous. It informs a lot of my songs."
Williams will take the Ghosts of Highway 20 on the road with a tour that begins March 4th in Los Angeles and is slated to wrap up at the legendary Gruene Hall in New Braufels, Texas, on April 22nd and 23rd.