Lucinda Williams on Grief and Her Father’s Inspirational Words

Father and daughter, two great artists, and the shared experience of grief.

Longreads

The American poet Miller Williams — father of alt-country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams — passed away on January 1. In this interview with Paste Magazine, Lucinda Williams reflects on her father’s influence in her life and on her work. Not only did he encourage her to pursue music, his words inspired many of her songs.

Lucinda Williams clutched the receiver and hung on her father’s every word. Three years ago, the Grammy-winning, critically acclaimed songstress had dialed Miller Williams—her mentor, toughest critic and dad—for a bit of consolation after attending an old friend’s funeral. Miller’s words weren’t so much a comfort as an inspiration.

“He told me ‘a precious thing’s temporary nature just makes it more precious,’ and ‘the saddest joys are the richest ones,’” Lucinda recalls of the genius in her father’s offhand remarks. “It was so profound that I jotted it down and eventually wrote a song about…

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