Big Black Train

Album: Good Souls Better Angels (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Good Souls Better Angels finds Tom Overby, Lucinda Willams' husband and manager, contributing to the lyrics for the first time. He originated this heart-wrenching song where the titular "big black train" is a metaphor for depression.

    Williams admitted to American Songwriter that when he first brought the idea to her, she questioned it. "Another song about a train? And a black train at that? Like how many songs have been written about trains?" So, Overby explained he was thinking about a train representing the big, black cloud of depression.

    Williams finished the lyrics, wrote the melody, arranged the tune and now she says the song makes her cry every time she sings it.
  • Lucinda Williams was for a time uncertain about sharing writing credits with Tom Overby. "I was hesitant about the idea, like, 'Oh, now she's writing with her husband,' but nobody's reacted that way," she told Billboard. "It is still me. It reminds me of Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen [Brennan]; they've written stuff together, but it's still Tom Waits."

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