Only Austin Earned a Warmhearted Lucinda Williams In-Store at Waterloo Records

Celebrating her new memoir and LP, as well as shop owner John Kunz

Travis Stephens and Lucinda Williams played Waterloo Records on July 3 (Photo by Rachel Rascoe)

Lucinda Williams lists Louisiana, Mississippi, and Mexico City among the many places she’s lived in her April memoir ​​Don't Tell Anybody the Secrets I Told You, but only her former home of Austin received a one-off, no-cost performance and book signing.

The singer’s appearance at Waterloo Records, untied to any area concert like typical in-stores, attracted a line down the block in Monday’s hot evening sun. As the comforting Q&A host, KUTX radio vet Jody Denberg knew enough to point out the memoir’s omission of Williams' Nineties stint in a house here on Cherrywood Road. He ended the quick discussion with a “love you, we love you,” which best captured the sweet old store’s warmhearted buzz.

Alongside the book, the rare duo show to almost 300 attendees honored self-explanatory new album Stories From a Rock N Roll Heart, with noted ties to Tom Petty like set opener “Stolen Moments.” Further clarification, Williams shirt read “FILE UNDER ROCK.” Her longtime road manager Travis Stephens played acoustic guitar, and co-wrote on the new record following Williams’ inability to play after her 2020 stroke – perhaps foretelling a similar recovery revival to recent celebrations of Joni Mitchell.

Focus on vocals proved fruitful for the 70-year-old, whose iconic gravel worked in a pleasant new waver, even stronger than my last sighting in 2019 at the Moody Theater. Selects from the new album were “Where the Song Will Find Me,” “This Is Not My Town” (which she warned “is not an admonishment of Austin"), and “Hum’s Liquor.” The crowd liked the corner bar and Patsy Cline references in “Jukebox” the most, to which the singer recapped: “This is why I love playing in Austin, because y’all always yell or say ‘yahoo’ at the right places in the songs.”

“Jackson” wrapped for another occasion – the 25th anniversary of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Besides hardbacks, LPs, and Lu, the event also celebrated Waterloo owner John Kunz reaching 50 years in record store retail (starting at Disc Records in Highland Mall). He shared a story of watching Williams beam at finding her two Folkways records in the stacks at his current shop’s past iteration on South Lamar, kicking off their “living room concert”-making friendship.

If there’s such a thing as Austin patriotism, seeing Lucinda Williams in front of the red, white, and blue Waterloo window on July 3 might be it.


Kunz’s half-century jubilee continues with Jake Andrews in store this Friday, July 7, Shinyribs this Tuesday, July 11, and Brownout on Friday, July 14.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Lucinda Williams, Waterloo Records, Travis Stephens, John Kunz

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