STRICKEN BY M.S., SHE’S BOUNCING BACK
VICTORIA WILLIAMS HAS JUST WALKED back to her grandfather’s cabin after an afternoon swim in Lake Bistineau, which is not far from her childhood home near Shreveport, La. Dozens of family members live in the vicinity, and the 34-year-old former street singer says she is “testing the waters” while deciding whether to move back home from L.A. She’s feeling fine, despite “some real weird symptoms” involving the numbness and loss of balance associated with multiple sclerosis. She’s glad she can think about treatment without worrying about the cost, and today she is buzzing about a new, unorthodox method she’s heard about involving bee slings. “I think all our cures are right here in nature,” she says.
Williams was on tour opening for Neil Young last year when “at first I thought I pinched a nerve. It got harder to walk and play the guitar, and I had to perform sitting down. Finally, in May, after the 23rd show, I had to leave the tour. After a lot of tests, I was diagnosed, and a month later all the bills started coming in. Two benefit concerts helped a lot. And Kelley Walker, who was working as a secretary at Sony Music, got together with Lou Reed’s wife, Sylvia Reed, and started pulling together this album for me. They did it so fast—it usually takes years.
“I hope to make music that makes people feel good, and this record made me feel good. I was able to step back from my music and say, ‘It seems like they are actually songs.’ Another person can sing them. I guess I feel more validated.”