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Lucinda Williams talks new music, tour, more ahead of Westhampton show

Lucinda Williams said she is working on new

Lucinda Williams said she is working on new songs that may be more rock-oriented. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Blackbird Produ / Paul Morigi

Lucinda Williams likes being unpredictable.

The singer-songwriter, who has helped define Americana with classic albums like “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” says she isn’t sure what she will play on her current tour, which stops at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Aug. 15.

“I never know what I’m going to do,” says Williams, calling from her home in Los Angeles, as she gets ready to hit the road with her husband and manager, Tom Overby. “We don’t always rehearse before we leave. We still have some songs from the last couple of albums we haven’t done. We like to mix it up.”

Part of that mix will be songs from her landmark “Sweet Old World” album. To celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary, Williams re-recorded it with her current touring band and will release the new version on her own label Sept. 29. “We put a new, fresh spin on it,” she said. “We’ve been doing it live a lot. Some of the keys changed because my voice is richer now. . . . ‘Six Blocks Away’ is like a whole new thing.”

Williams says her feelings have changed about some of the songs. “I think ‘Miss This World’ has stood the test of time,” she says. “Something like ‘Lines Around Your Eyes,’ I would never write something like that now. . . . But we didn’t dwell on things too much when we recorded them again.”

Williams said she is working on some new songs that may be more rock-oriented than her recent “The Ghosts of Highway 20” album, though she says “it’s hard to write a rock song with just me with my guitar.” She will get a chance to rock out a little more when she opens for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary shows in Los Angeles. And she recently completed a collaboration with Mercury Rev on Bobbie Gentry’s classic “Ode to Billie Joe” to celebrate that song’s 50th anniversary.

When reminded that 2017 is also the 50th anniversary of the death of jazz legend John Coltrane, Williams, who gives Coltrane a shout out in her song “Righteously,” says that he is one of her favorite artists.

“I grew up listening to him,” she said. “His album ‘Ballads’ is just one of those desert island albums. And ‘A Love Supreme’! People will say I’m ‘not jazz’ or whatever, but those kind of labels are beside the point. That album passes those kind of boundaries.”

Williams said “A Love Supreme,” which Coltrane wrote at his home in Dix Hills, influenced a version of “Faith and Grace” on her most recent album. “The extended version of ‘Faith and Grace’ had a Rastafarian vibe and became this long thing, where it became like a mantra,” she said. “When I heard it, I thought, ‘God, this is like ‘Love Supreme’! That’s how that track felt to me. When we got to it and it had that vibe, I was just thrilled.”

WHO Lucinda Williams

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Aug. 15, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, Westhampton Beach

INFO $91-$141; 631-288-1500, whbpac.org

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