Drunken Angel

Album: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)

Songfacts®:

  • Introducing this song in concerts, Williams has explained that she wrote it about her friend Blaze Foley, a songwriter who was shot and killed in a bar over a senseless argument. Townes Van Zandt, who was also a friend of Foley's, wrote a song about him called "Blaze's Blues."
  • Decades later, this song is still a popular request at Williams' shows. Why has it endured? She explained to the A.V. Club: "I'll tell people that the song has become something now that could be about Townes or Gram Parsons or Kurt Cobain or any artist who's died too young and given up the ghost. People respond to that."
  • Some fans love the song so much, they want a permanent reminder. "One girl got me to write it on her back, so she could go get it tattooed," Williams said.
  • Lucinda Williams' father was the Arkansas poet Miller Williams (1930-2015). She has learned from him the importance of painting pictures with words. Williams recalled to American Songwriter: "When I was working on 'Drunken Angel,' it was pretty much finished, and I had this line, 'blood flows out of a hole in his heart.' He said, 'I think it would be better if it was 'the hole in his heart.'' I never took a writing course, but I had him as a teacher."

Comments: 2

  • Peter from Tucson, AzI had been thinking about LW since recently seeing her on the Gram Parsons tribute DVD, Return to Sin City. She did a great version of Sleepless Nights. I gave Car Wheels on a Gravel Road a listen, which is a real good LW album, and thought, I wonder if that might be about GP? The hair was wrong, but...anyway, if by chance you have not discovered Gram Parsons yet make sure to check his music out sooner than later. I guarantee that if you like Lucinda you will like all things Gram.
    Peace and believe,
    Peter-Tucson, AZ
  • Kevin from Reading , PaLike most people, I suspect, I never heard of Blaze Foley, but this is one heck of a song. Mr. Foley aside, it brings to mind many other possible contenders in the debauched world of rock and roll!
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