You Say It's Your Birthday: Victoria Williams

Today is the birthday of Victoria Williams, the

gospel-and-country tinged angel of rootsy rock with the high, trilling voice

and loopy songwriting sense. Williams debuted in 1987 with Happy Come

Home, an album which introduced her complex blend of down-home genres and

sensitive, gently insightful lyrics. She followed with 1990's Swing the

Statue!; after the album was released, Williams was diagnosed with multiple

sclerosis. The outpouring of support from her fans -- many of whom were

acclaimed musicians such as Pearl Jam, Soul Asylum, Lou Reed and Lucinda

Williams -- was immense; the album Sweet Relief, a collection of covers

of Williams' work, was released to raise money for the Sweet Relief Musicians

Trust Fund, an organization which helps musicians (who do not receive health

benefits) cover medical costs. After Sweet Relief was dubbed a success,

Williams' first two albums were rereleased and she recorded a third effort,

1994's Loose. A live album, This Moment In Toronto, was released

last year. Other birthdays: Yoshinari Hira (Boredoms), Jorma Kaukonen

(Jefferson Airplane), Ron Bushy (Iron Butterfly), Luther Grosvenor (Spooky

Tooth/Mott The Hoople), Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

-- Beth Winegarner