Lucinda Williams is recovering from a stroke. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the 68-year-old country musician said she spent five weeks in the hospital after a blood clot developed on the right side of her brain in November of last year. She’s since been discharged, is undergoing physical therapy, and is expected to make a full recovery.
In the months leading up to the stroke, Williams was otherwise doing just fine. She spent her days taking safety precautions during the ongoing pandemic while performing in special livestream tributes, taking part in birthday bashes, and recording cover songs of T. Rex, Sharon Van Etten, and Roky Erickson. But when she got ready to take a shower on November 17th, she suddenly found herself stumbling and unable to walk. Next thing she knew, she was in an ambulance on the way to Nashville’s Vanderbilt Medical Center where she would be placed in the intensive care unit.
Williams has spent the past six months trying to mend the damage done by the stroke. She now walks with a cane, is unable to play guitar, and has lingering pain in both her left arm and left leg. However, thanks to the remarkable lack of brain damage, doctors expect the influential musician to have a 100% recovery.
“What happens is your brain gets all… the wires get all crossed and you have to retrain your brain basically, to tell your arm to do whatever it is you’re trying to do. So that’s the biggest challenge,” she said of the healing process. “I do, like, walking, with the cane and they watch me and see how well I’m doing. And then I have to do hand and arm exercises. It’s really about regaining my strength and mobility, and range of motion. That’s what they work with me on.”
After releasing her Grammy-nominated new album Good Souls Better Angels last year, Williams planned on doing a summer tour with Jason Isbell in 2021. That’s a goal she still aims to meet. “I feel good and positive about playing again. We’ve got some shows scheduled with Jason Isbell for late July and we’re planning on doing those,” Williams told Rolling Stone. “I don’t know if I’ll stand up and sing or I’ll sit down like an old blues person. But we’ll figure it out.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Williams seems rather unbothered by her experience of having a stroke. She told Rolling Stone that she’s still penning lyrics, she recently hopped into a studio session to sing vocals for a new Chrissie Hynde project, and she’s keeping a stress-free outlook on the whole situation. “The main thing is I can still sing. I’m singing my ass off, so that hasn’t been affected,” said Williams. “Can’t keep me down for too long.”