Anyone who ever grew up in a straitlaced small town along the Gulf Coast knew that if you wanted to get inspired or get in trouble, you should head straight for New Orleans. Williams lived in Louisiana between the crucial ages of 12 and 16, and this song from 1988’s Lucinda Williams captures that coming-of-age experience better than any other. When Williams sings of crossing the long, long causeway across Lake Pontchartrain, you can hear her voice melt a bit with joyous anticipation. The syncopated dance rhythms of Cajun fiddle and zydeco accordion (from southwest Louisiana, not New Orleans, but who cares.) can make you want to head for that causeway too. Emmylou Harris, who has recorded two Williams songs, cut this one for her 1993 album, Cowgirl’s Prayer.
This is not only Williams’ most successful song, but it’s probably her best as well. As the third single from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s 1992 album, Come On, Come On, the song became a top-five country hit in 1993. It then won a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994. Williams’ lyrics address the common dilemma of balancing an artistic career with a personal life. “Is it too much to ask.” Carpenter sings, “I want a comfortable bed … warm clothes and all that stuff.”... Sign In to Keep Reading