Cartographer of the Soul

This is a story of community and joy; of hardship, optimism, and drive. A very human tale, this is a story about faith. Victoria Williams hasn’t just died, started a grassroots faith ’n’ politics movement, put out a new album, or made an oh-so-startling Pat Boone-esque career move. That’s okay; she hadn’t when I first heard of her either.

See, this is how it works: Someone you know and trust introduces you to Victoria’s world. Then you spread the word to people who know and trust you, and so on. In my case, it was my best friend, Derek, who secured my immigration into the land o’ Vic. And what a world it is.

Born on December 23, 1958, in Forbing, Louisiana—a too-small-to-get-on-the-Allstate-map town—the young Victoria had to seek excitement in the nearby town of Shreveport. Up in the northeast corner of the state, Shreveport is close enough to both Texas and Arkansas for the musical mix to incorporate Cajun, bluegrass, country, jazz, soul, and various strands of the folk-weave. Hard-rockin’ 1970s Southern boogie leavened the predominantly acoustic influences on her developing style. Vic’s first gig was in Lickskillet, in the east end of Texas. She was singing in local folk clubs by the time she was in her late teens and working in various skilled laboring jobs of the house-painter/roofer variety.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1997
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