She recorded her first albums in 1978 and 1980 in a traditional country and blues style and received very little attention from radio, the media, or the public. In 1988, she released her self-titled album, Lucinda Williams. This release featured "Passionate Kisses", a song later recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which garnered Williams her first Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1994.
Known for working slowly, Williams recorded and released only one other album in the next several years before her greatest success came in 1998 with Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, an album presenting a broader scope of songs that fused rock, blues, country, and Americana into a more distinctive style that still managed to remain consistent and commercial in sound. It went gold and earned Williams another Grammy while being universally acclaimed by critics. Since Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, she has released a string of albums that have also been critically acclaimed, though none have sold in the numbers of her 1998 breakthrough. She was also named "America's best songwriter" by TIME magazine in 2002.
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