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  Victoria Williams
Victoria Williams While Victoria Williams's gifts as a singer and songwriter have been vividly documented on her own albums--ironically, the work that introduced her to many listeners barely featured the Louisiana-born artist at all. "Sweet Relief," released in 1993, was a collection of Williams' songs performed by more than a dozen of rock's most respected performers, including Pearl Jam, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks, Lou Reed, and Michelle Shocked. What those artist knew--and what others soon discovered--is that Victoria Williams is a writer of craft and talent, an artist who, with vivid words and melodies, paints unforgettable pictures.

December 1958, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. This talented singer-songwriter had her career disrupted by the onset of multiple sclerosis, which was diagnosed in the spring of 1992. At that time she was touring with Neil Young and receiving plaudits as a promising newcomer. She made her recording debut in 1987 (at that time still married to Peter Case), with an album produced by Anton Fier and Stephen Soles that surrounded her compositions with a varied background, including a sitar, strings and horns. The most notable accompaniment came from an award-winning Donn Pennebaker video. Williams' second set was a considerable improvement and revealed her to be a writer of depth by removing some of the extraneous instrumentation. Instead, co-producer Michael Blair (multi-instrumentalist with Elvis Costello and Tom Waits) focused on Williams' childlike, rural spirit and inspired lyrics with simple, effective song constructions. Her rise had already been noted in the film world, and she made her acting debut in Gus van Sant 's lesbian epic Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. However, once her illness had been diagnosed, Williams' hospital bills soared, and guest musicians played a series of benefit concerts throughout 1992. This culminated in a core of friends and admirers putting together the cast for Sweet Relief - The Songs Of Victoria Williams, where fourteen artists contributed cover versions of her songs. Soul Asylum 's version of 'Summer Of Drugs' began the set, while other contributions included Lou Reed ('Tarbelly & Feather Foot'), Jayhawks ('Lights'), Waterboys ('Why Look At The Moon'), Giant Sand ('Big Fish'), Lucinda Williams ('Main Road'), Evan Dando of the Lemonheads ('Frying Pan'), Michelle Shocked ('Opelousas (Sweet Relief))', Maria McKee ('Holy Spirit'), Pearl Jam, Buffalo Tom, etc. The lyrics to 'Main Road', sung by fellow Louisianan Lucinda Williams, were perfectly apt: 'I never knew I had so many friends'. By 1994 Williams reasserted her own strength as a performer with the release of Loose, sustaining herself on stage with little evidence of her illness, with husband Mark Olson of the Jayhawks joining her for a duet of 'When We Sing Together' and Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M.on hand to support a new collection of supremely simple but deeply affecting songs.
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 1998

   
 
Sings Some Ol' Songs
CD $19.99 catalog# dt1126
Sings Some Ol' Songs
Water To Drink
CD $16.99 catalog# atl83361
Water To Drink
Gladys And Lucy
Joy Of Love
Swing The Statue
CD $11.99 catalog# mamm75
Swing The Statue
Musings Of A Creek Dipper
CD $16.99 catalog# 83072
Musings Of A Creek Dipper
This Moment In Toronto
CD $11.99 catalog# at19642
This Moment In Toronto
Loose
CD $15.99 catalog# at192430
Loose
Happy Come Home
CD $12.99 catalog# smit4003
Happy Come Home
 
 


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