Lucinda Williams Reveals She Suffered a Stroke in November
Lucinda Williams suffered a stroke in November, the singer-songwriter reveals in a new interview. Nearly six months later, she's still recuperating, but her prognosis is extremely positive.
Williams' stroke occurred on Nov. 17, she shares with Rolling Stone. The then-67-year-old was in the bathroom at her Nashville home, preparing to take a shower, when she suddenly started having trouble keeping her balance, couldn't stand up straight and couldn't walk. Williams was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center via ambulance, after her doctor -- who, by chance, was on the phone with Williams' husband, Tom Overby, when her symptoms began -- told her to get to a hospital as soon as possible.
At Vanderbilt, doctors found a blood clot on the right side of Williams' brain. She spent a week in the ICU, then was transferred to a rehabilitation center. Williams was discharged from Vanderbilt on Dec. 21, five weeks after her stroke, and has been in therapy since.
Currently, Rolling Stone reports, Williams has "lingering pain" in her left arm and leg, walks with a cane and cannot play guitar. But, the singer says, "The main thing is, I can still sing. I’m singing my ass off, so that hasn’t been affected."
Williams' husband adds that the stroke did not cause her any brain damage. She's poised for "a 100-percent recovery," explains Rolling Stone.
“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," Williams explains of her recovery. "[During therapy], 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."
Williams opted to not publicly share the news of her stroke until now because she "didn't want to make it a big, alarming thing ... I didn't want people to overreact." She opted to cancel a performance at the recent Mile 0 Festival (April 27-May 1 in Key West, Fla.), but "feel[s] 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 shares. “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."
A Louisiana native, Williams has been making music since the 1980s. She's well known for her Grammy-winning 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and 2001's Essence, another Grammy winner. Williams' most recent album, Good Souls, Better Angels, dropped in April of 2020, and earned a Grammy nomination at the 2021 ceremony.
Since her stroke, Williams has been songwriting and even recently recorded guest vocals for a Chrissie Hynde project. Of her stroke, Rolling Stone reports that the artist "seems unperturbed by the whole affair ... and wonders only what caused [it]," as she does not know of any family history of stroke.
"A lot of times it could be stress and all that, but [the doctors] didn’t know for sure," Williams says. "You hear about these things all the time. Usually, it’s somebody much older. That’s what I was surprised about, you know?"