"A great deal has changed on the entertainment landscape since a passionate alliance of young radical lesbians from Los Angeles-based Olivia Records released feminist singer-songwriter Cris Williamson's album "The Changer and the Changed" 40 years ago. One thing hasn't: Williamson's ability to captivate an audience with her soul-stirring vocals and heartrending lyrics." Greg Archer, San Francisco Examiner
Cris Williamson: "40 years ago, I recorded ten songs that were known collectively as The Changer and the Changed. I painted with words and music my personal landscape and managed to elucidate some of what we know as the Universality of the human condition. Somehow, I intuitively knew that it's better to speak to all as opposed to just a few. Somehow, these songs – short on big production factors and long on emotion – came to stand as courageously as they could for women's experience in particular - their feelings and hopes and dreams. For it was primarily women who fell so hard for this music, these words, these changes that were brewing within us. It was women who recognized whatever power I had then, and who champion it to this day, helping me to continue to grow and change."
Williamson's music and voice quickly became the soundtrack of a movement, and was the cornerstone of what would become known as "women's music," music created, performed, and marketed specifically to women. Today, that recording, The Changer and the Changed, remains one of the best-selling independent releases of all time.
The music became the vehicle for something larger. Williamson's lyrics appear on a regular basis in books and thesis papers. Her albums are part of the curriculum for women's studies courses, and thousands of people who may not even know her name join their voices in "Song of the Soul" around campfires and places of worship. She is embraced by women. She is sampled in hip-hop. Her music is used by midwives welcoming life into the world, while hospice choirs sing her songs in tender sacred escort.
Williamson's latest CD is Pray Tell: Songs of the Soul, a 24-song 2-CD set. "'Pray, Tell' is an antique phrase, basically meaning,"do tell!" The word "pray" embodies a kind of humble entreaty, encouraging communication. In that respect, I put the metaphorical bucket down in the metaphorical Well, pulled it up, and these pieces. It is my hope that these songs will offer a space where the sacred can appear, where we may all be of One Mind, One Heart. I believe there is a deep mutual kinship, a consonance living in all the various forms of spirituality. This is what I pray. This is what I tell." - Cris