Features

Rooted in Country: Ida Mae on Lucinda Williams' 'I Envy the Wind'

Joe Hottinger

Nashville-by-way-of-London Americana duo Ida Mae has shared the stage with everyone from Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss to rockers Greta Van Fleet. This summer, the duo will once again team up with their country heroes to join the Outlaw Music Festival Tour, headlined by Nelson, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Chris Stapleton, Nathanial Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Lucinda Williams.

Bandmember Chris Turpin says Lucinda Williams has long been an inspiration for the duo, going back to when the band was first formed.

"Growing up in the UK on a strict diet of my fathers CD collection of British 'Rock n' Roll' I found myself on a trail back to the roots of rock n' roll. Following the influences of my younger musical heroes like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Fairport Convention, The Rolling Stones, etc. I quickly became immersed in early country blues and early outlaw country," Turpin tells Wide Open Country. "It became an archaeological, time travelling quest to unearth rare recordings, forgotten artists and labels, uncovering the earliest versions of certain songs and melodies. It was an incredible way to lose myself in American music and trace the lineage of folk music...from Hank Williams and The Carter Family to Mississippi Fred McDowell and Blind Willie McTell to Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. It's a journey that I'm still on."
Turpin says it was a songwriter friend that first introduced him to Williams via two tracks from her stunning 2001 album Essence.
"When we formed our first band a friend of mine that was a songwriter had spent years writing in Nashville, playing pool with John Prine and hanging in the late '90s scene, made me a compilation CD with a couple of tracks by Lucinda Williams. Modern country music is lesser known in the UK and when I first heard 'I Envy The Wind' and 'Bus to Baton Rouge' from her album Essence I was floored," Turnpin says. "Lucinda's poetry and delivery was unlike anything I'd heard before. There was so much delicacy and strength in her work. Her words felt as determined and pure as Nirvana or The Sex Pistols, but with an intimacy of someone like Nick Drake. It was delivered by incredible Nashville players and was so deeply rooted in everything that I had discovered...voiced in a way I hadn't heard before...it was rock n' roll to me. 'I Envy The Wind' is such a beautifully fragile, dark and sweet, honest piece of work, on the outskirts of the genre."
"I waited in the rain in the UK for Lucinda to sign a record for me on her 'Ghosts Of Highway 20' tour 5 years ago in my hometown," Turnpin continues. "To think now we're opening Outlaw Country across the West Coast, playing on the same bill as Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams is just surreal."
Ida Mae recently released their sophomore album Click Click Domino, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut album Chasing Lights.

 

Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Country are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

 

Now Watch: Remembering John Prine Songs Through The Years

recommended for you

Rooted in Country: Ida Mae on Lucinda Williams' 'I Envy the Wind'