When I moved to Austin in 1974, I used to play on the Drag near the vendors. You’d go down there and people would be everywhere. There was a certain vibe in the air. I always thought it was like how it must have been in San Francisco in the sixties, the Haight-Ashbury days, which I had missed. It was a happening scene. I was just getting started back then, and I really didn’t play a lot of shows in Austin at that time. I do remember that I was promised a gig at the Hole in the Wall. I went by there before the show and looked on the calendar out front, but I wasn’t on it. The manager had told me I could play, so I got really upset. I said to him, “I thought you were going to book me.” And he told me, “Oh, we already have enough chick singers for the month.”

Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, lived in Austin and Houston during parts of the seventies and eighties. Her latest album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (Mercury), was nominated for two Grammy awards this year. On March 18 she will deliver the keynote address at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin.