Love Is All Around

Lucinda Williams gets married onstage in Minneapolis

The bride and groom
The bride and groom

(Minneapolis) - "Hank Williams got married onstage," drawled Lucinda Williams, as she was about to follow in his footsteps and marry her sweetheart of over two years, Tom Overby, onstage at First Ave. last Saturday night. As the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme sang, "Love is all around," so were Lu and Tom's closest friends and family.

First Ave., you'll recall, is the venerable Minneapolis club used as the setting of the best musical of the 1980s, Purple Rain. The club held lots of Lucinda's friends, among them Rosie Flores, Mandy Mercier, Greg Johnson, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Liz Lambert, John Platania, Amy Cook, Ana Egge, Chip Taylor, Carrie Rodriguez, Joy White, Anne McCue, and Holly George Warren. There were a number of her exes in attendance, including Lorne Rall and Greg Sowders, a testament to the loyalty she feels toward those she truly cares about.

It wasn't enough that this was her wedding, it was also the kickoff of her 30th anniversary tour, and the set she delivered before the limelight nuptials was a joyous journey through her history, album by album, from the beginning. She opened with songs form her earliest recordings, such as "Stop Breakin' Down," "Lafayette," "Just Wanna See You So Bad," "Big Red Sun Blues," "I Lost It," and "Pineola." She chose a few of the "hits," like "Changed the Locks," but not "Passionate Kisses," and swung into her 1990s oeuvre with "Sweet Old World," "Concrete and Barbed Wire," "Joy," "Out of Touch," "Essence," "Righteously," and "Honey Bee," dedicated to her king bee Tom. A solo turn in the spotlight with "I Am So Happy I Found You," from Dylan's Lost Lyrics project (Hank Williams' words, Lucinda's music), and then the ceremony.

Her father, poet laureate Miller Williams, read a poem called "The Caterpillar," written when Lucinda was seven and with the last line supplied by her. It was a deeply moving moment, providing unexpected intimacy in the club. The minister, Charles Burggraf, then stood before Tom and Lucinda, reading the vows as they repeated them back. Lucinda wore a matching black satin skirt and blouse and very high heeled black leather boots, and was the only one to use the microphone during the ceremony. As they were pronounced man and wife, confetti rained on the stage and streamers shot across the club. Tom and Lucinda clutched each other, probably relieved it was all over, and I started bawling in earnest. Then Lucinda did what every good newlywed musician should do: picked up her guitar and serenaded her new spouse.

First, it was the Rolling Stones "Happy," for which Tom joined her on the chorus, and then AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll)." A private reception (the show/wedding was public) drew the couple and the several hundred guests who'd flown in from everywhere to the neighboring restaurant Seven, where a mouthwatering Tres Leches wedding cake was served to all. I knew the bride when she used to do the Pony. I knew the bride when she used to rock & roll.

The sojourn to Minneapolis was delightful. Less than 48 hours, perfect weather without a hint of humidity, a visit to the Mary Tyler Moore statue (No. 1 on my list), and a few minutes standing at 9th and Hennepin, just to absorb whatever Tom Waits atmosphere I could. And what a happening music scene. The Insane Clown Posse played First Ave. the night I arrived, so ex-Chronicle and current Houston Press music editor Chris Gray and I parked ourselves at the pub across the street and watched the juggalos in action. We dubbed the throngs for Lucinda the following night "juggalus."

It was also a chance to hang with Honolulu tattoo artist Kandi Everett, longtime friend via my late ex Rollo Banks. Some years ago when Lucinda decided to get tattooed, she wanted Rollo to do it. Rollo said Kandi was better at doing what she wanted - the Mayan serpent Quetzalcoatl. Many phone calls and plans were made before Kandi flew to L.A. and tattooed Lu's arm. Now, it was time to seal the wedding vows with ink, and once again Kandi was called.

While loafing around the hotel room the day of the wedding, I picked out a movie on HBO to watch. It was called Garage Days, about an Australian punk band. Not once but twice in the film, they played AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top," a song I'd hear that night by Lucinda. What do you figure the odds are that we'd find a movie that features that song? Chris thought the odds were good. I think different.

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