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Dar Williams: Independent Music

Updated on December 22, 2014
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Dar Williams, Singer-Songwriter of "Folk Pop"

Dar Williams, a popular singer among fans of folk and women's music, has an adaptable voice that can dance from lyrical and etherial to playful and gritty. Her lyrics are funny, sharp, lively, fresh, like the best 80s pop, yet behind the play there's a lot of thoughtful insight into life, the environment, gender and other complex issues. She weaves word-poems with a catchy beat and a catchy tune that sounds simple until you try to sing along.

There's a bit of the Indigo Girls in her, a bit of Joni Mitchell, a bit Tom Lehrer and Loreena McKinnett, and a lot of Joan Baez. In fact, both Joan Baez and Pete Seeger have performed with Dar Williams.

On this page I'll share a few music snippets and a brief interview to introduce you to Dar Williams, then interweave a two-part biography with music videos showcasing a selection of Dar Williams songs.

Dar Williams and Joan Baez Sing: "You're Aging Well" - Album: The Honesty Room (1993)

Three of My Favorite Dar Williams Songs

Picking one great song from each album is difficult, but here's my favorites from her first three albums, reflecting the range of music she likes to record.

Three reasons to love Dar Williams

  • She's got an incredible, unusual voice and clever lyrics.
  • She's at her funniest when she's singing about the most important topics in our lives.
  • She has the coolest babysitter ever!

Dar Williams Interview 2009 - by New York House Magazine

Dar shares some tips on green living in America, the "Promised Land."

Dar Williams Early Biography through 1997

Dorothy Snow Williams was born in Mt. Kisco, NY in 1967 to parents Gray Williams, a medical writer, and Marian Ferry, a senior member of Planned Parenthood, who raised Dar and her two sisters with a liberal New England upbringing. Dar majored in theater and religion at Wesleyan College and spent a few months at Berkeley.

In 1990 she moved to Boston and started working as a stage manager for a local opera. She began voice lessons and started getting her toes wet in the coffeehouse musician's circuit. In 1993, she self-released her first album, The Honesty Room, and moved to Northampton, MA. She began to flourish as singer-songwriter with a growing following in New England.

In 1995, she signed under the label Razor & Tie and re-released The Honesty Room, followed by the well-received Mortal City in 1996. Around this time, she opened for Joan Baez and was part of Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair, a traveling women's music festival. These high-profile appearances brought her to national attention in alternative, folk, and women's music circles. She released End of the Summer in 1997.

Dar William Live: "The Christians and the Pagans" - Album: Mortal City (1996)

Leave it to Dar to write a hilariously funny song about holiday tensions between conservative and liberal sides of a family trying to coexist without strangling each other.

Dar Williams Biography and Career Cont'd - 1998 - Present

n 1998, Dar Williams formed a group with singer-songwriters Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky, Cry Cry Cry. They performed covers for some of their favorite folk songs, released under an album by the same name.

From 2000 onwards, Dar has returned to releasing her own albums under the Razor & Tie label, often collaborating with guest musicians from Ani DiFranco to Stefan Lessard of the Dave Matthews Band. Much of Dar's music has become fuller, richer, employing more instruments and a more polished sound compared to the simple folk singer and acoustic guitar style of her early years. She deals a little less often with heavy issues and plays a little more in the pop rock arena, but folk roots and reflective wit remain the bedrock of her music.

Dar Williams strongly supports environmental causes, throwing benefit concerts for the Nature Conservancy and Clearwater, and founding her own Snowdon Environmental Trust.

She has penned two books: The Tofu Tollbooth, a guide to green and organic food stores (recently updated), and a Scholastic book for grades 5-7, Amalee, a first-person narrative about a girl whose four "goofy" friends help her when her father, a single parent, comes down with a serious illness.

On the personal front, Dar Williams has moved back to New York, married old friend Michael Robinson in 2002, and gave birth to their first child, Stephen Gray Robinson, in 2004.

Dar Williams Concert DVD

Live at Bearsville Mountain
Live at Bearsville Mountain

Hooray! New October 2007, a DVD of Dar in concert, singing old favorites and new! Plus behind-the-scene footage and interviews.

Tracks Include: The Babysitter's Here, The Ocean, February, The One Who Knows, The Christians And The Pagans, Iowa, When I was A Boy, As Cool As I Am, Spring Street, If I Wrote You, Are You Out There, Mercy of The Fallen, The Easy Way, The Beauty Of The Rain, After All, Ripple.

 

Dar Williams Fan Video: "Closer to Me" - Album: The Beauty of the Rain (2003)

Folk pop at its best.

Vote on Your Favorite Dar Williams Album!

So, which is your very favorite?

See results

Sing Out For Dar Williams!

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    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      Thank you for introducing me to Dar Williams! Her music & lyrics, and you, are my gifts today!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      My wife introduced me to Dar Williams and I've become a fan. This is a great lens to showcase her work and get others hooked.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 6 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Thank you for the introduction to Dar Williams. Not my usual musical style, but the messages in her songs are evident and certainly reflect her influences and personal journey.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Dar Williams has a new fan

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      I love Dar Williams. And so it seems does my 2-year-old son. I just played the Beauty of the Rain and he said "I like this singing.".

    • profile image

      RecordLabel 6 years ago

      I just stumbled on this lens, and I must say this lens is great! I love your video "I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono"

      voice lessons guy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Great lens. One correction tho...that's Pete Seger, not Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      Great lens, I love her music!

    • card lady 2 profile image

      Pat 8 years ago from Midwest, USA

      Nice lens about Dar Williams. Thanks for lensrolling my Joan Baez lens. I am lensrolling this lens from there.

    • rwoman profile image

      rwoman 9 years ago

      Great lens! I hope you'll have time off from all your hard work for some Earth Day trivia fun here!