Archive for the Dar Williams Category

Dar Williams: Many Great Companions

Posted in Dar Williams on November 1, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

I’ve mentioned several times in this space and others (most recently here) the story of my first encounter with Kasey Chambers’ music, and how that experience led me on a journey of musical discovery that culminated in a trip to see her perform on The Mountain Stage.  I went to the show to see Chambers, but I left having fallen in love with the other guests on that show as well… Rodney Crowell, James McMurtry, and Dar Williams.

Admittedly, I never followed Williams’ career quite as closely as I eventually did those of Chambers, Crowell, and McMurtry, but I’ve always kept an ear turned in her direction.  With each new release, I’ve always found a few songs to fit into my regular listening rotation.  And that’s what makes this collection perfect for a casual Dar Williams fan like myself.  The second disc of this two disc set features a career retrospective of sorts with the album versions of twenty of Williams’ most loved songs.  Hearing them in their original studio settings gives the listener a taste of just how deftly she is able to mix pop elements into her songs that are, at their very core, folk tunes.  It’s a great jumping on point for new fans, and a fine compilation for casual listeners.

This set also has something in store for the more hard-core Williams fan as well.  The first disc also revisits with some of her more recognizable songs (though only six tunes repeat on each disc), but presents new recordings in a more stripped down, acoustic fashion.  This approach puts the focus solely on Williams’ words and voice as the songs are presented in their most basic form.  The heartbreak of the babysitter as she chooses college over her young charge (or possibly someone else) in “The Babysitter’s Here” is palpable, as is the yearning in “If I Wrote You.”

The latter features guest vocals from The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris.  Louris co-produced the twelve song set with Williams and lends his voice to a handful the tracks.  He’s joined in places by Sean & Sara Watkins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Patty Larkin.  As impressive as the guest list is, they serve only to compliment and enhance Williams’ performances and never steal the spotlight.

The focus here is on Dar Williams, and new and old fans alike should take notice.

Dar Williams: If I Wrote You (Buy Album)

Random Weekend Post: Holiday YouTube

Posted in Bing Crosby, Dar Williams, David Bowie, Hayes Carll, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash on December 25, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

This post usually comes on a Saturday, but I wanted to go ahead and get this out today. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season.