Long Bio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE‚Ä® July 28, 2021

Long Bio

SINGER-SONGWRITER DAR WILLIAMS RELEASES
I’LL MEET YOU HERE, HER FIRST NEW ALBUM IN SIX YEARS,
OCT. 1 ON NEW BMG ROOTS/AMERICANA IMPRINT RENEW RECORDS

Recognized as an author, educator and urban-planning expert,
Williams is also penning a new book, Writing a Song That Matters,
based on her popular songwriting retreats

When Dar Williams starts discussing her latest album, I’ll Meet You Here, she’s not yet sure she can identify its through line; a thread that might connect its 10 songs together. But as she delves into the collection, releasing Oct. 1 on BMG’s recently launched Renew label, she mentions her attempt to turn her yard into a meadow. Unfortunately, the wildflower seeds she scattered on the grass around her home, in New York’s Hudson Valley, didn’t take. Now she just has an unruly lawn.

“It kind of has a crazy-lady look,” Williams says, laughing. “I’m on a corner in a village, so everybody sees it. I do all this remedial stuff; it’s not really working. But I know why I did it, and I know what I was going for. Generally, people are saying ‘I see what you’re trying to do.’ And I’m sure some people are shaking their heads. And I’m OK either way.”

“At some point,” she adds, “you have to meet life where it meets you … I think what the songs all have in common is the willingness to meet life as it arrives.”

We might even simplify it as “acceptance,” that concept Buddhists and behavioral therapists try so hard to teach. But that’s far from passivity; on the contrary (and unlike her lawn), Williams’ lyrics contain bouquets of optimism, delivered on melodies alternating between beguiling lightness and understated gravity.

In “Today and Every Day,” for example, she sings, There’s no time for this smug frustration, I say everyone, EVERYONE’S a power station. And we’ll light the way, but we got to say we can save the world a little every day.

But she also writes from the viewpoint of a woman who has weathered plenty of storms (as vividly described in “Let the Wind Blow”), and is no longer willing to delude herself into believing someone else’s definition of love (as noted in “I Never Knew”).

Comparing “Magical Thinking,” one of several relationship songs, with “Time Be My Friend,” from which the album takes its title, Williams remarks, “There's a piece of your brain that you have to calm in order to meet time, and to not sit there saying, ‘If I keep on following these rituals, maybe I’ll influence what’s going to happen.’ It's like, ‘Why not just be OK with what's happening now?’

“I've been very interested in how to control my future,” she adds, “and this album has to do with the fact that at some point, you just can’t.”

Like everyone else, Williams spent 2020 in that state of non-control. She and longtime producer Stewart Lerman tracked most of the album, her 12th studio recording, in November of 2019. In late February of 2020, she cut the title tune in Woodstock with bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and Larry Campbell, who produced the track and played guitars, pedal steel and twangy baritone guitar. When told they had to postpone a mid-March mixing date, Campbell said he wasn’t feeling well anyway. Turns out he’d contracted a serious case of COVID-19. By the time he recovered, they knew a 2020 release was not in the cards — tarot or otherwise.

Williams instead worked on her latest book, Writing a Song That Matters, titled after the songwriting retreats she began conducting in 2013. Williams published two young-adult novels with Scholastic in the mid-2000s, along with a green blog for Huffpost, before she tackled her urban-planning study, published in 2017: What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America's Communities — One Coffee Shop, Dog Run & Open-Mike Night at a Time.

Insights from that book inspired “Little Town,” the album’s gorgeous, deeply nuanced centerpiece. It packs the emotional punch of Brandi Carlile’s “The Joke,” but as a quiet confession, not bold defiance.

With only her acoustic guitar accompanying the soft rise and fall of her voice, Williams inhabits the perspective of a bigoted local unwilling to welcome newcomers, cautioning,

It’s nothing that you did, it’s not the color of your skin,
But one thing you should know, you’ve gotta take it slow.

As Bryn Roberts’ piano and Dave Eggar’s cello kick in, her Archie Bunker even questions why the mayor, a lifelong friend with whom he plans each July Fourth celebration, would invite one of those new arrivals — you, especially you — to join that effort.

And as the fireworks came up above the mountain,
I saw you put your hand up to your heart,
And I saw the mayor watching, knew my kids were watching
Hoped that I would come around. Big parade, little town.

Eventually, he embraces his town’s new diversity. But that happy outcome is imbued with so much melancholy and regret, it almost evokes tears.

Williams says the song reflects two mayors who understood how change was necessary to move their towns forward.

“These mayors, who looked at new immigrant populations as a gift and went the extra mile to translate that to their old buddies, were very moving to me,” she explains. “The fact that the mayors said, ‘You can wrap your mind around this; this is exactly what we're all about,’ was not only something interesting, it’s something I've seen.”

Williams strongly believes that all of us possess our own power and ability to achieve, and she rejects the exceptionalism that encourages us to “admire that yonder star,” while making us feel small and insignificant; unworthy of shining on our own but hoping to catch enough distant light to inspire some tiny accomplishment.

“I just can't stand that,” she says. “We don’t have to stare at a star. We can find it in ourselves.”

Indeed, we can take charge of our own actions — and they matter. “Every time I figure out how to, you know, get bulk flour without using a new container, I see a little picture of a slow-mo butterfly wing, like I helped one millisecond of butterfly wing-flapping happen that wouldn’t have,” she says, alluding to the chaos theory concept known as the butterfly effect.

Williams’ literary, cerebral writing style, while quite accessible, includes several esoteric references ripe for exploration. For instance, a single line in “Berkeley” — Bought from the bookstore where “Howl” was on trial — invokes the Allen Ginsberg poem regarded as a cornerstone of the Beat movement; City Lights, the famed San Francisco bookstore; City Lights owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who published the poem; and the obscenity trial he endured because of it.

One song isn’t her own, but she loves the melody and message of “Sullivan Lane,” a retro-poppy tune about finding kindred vulnerable spirits, by Joziah Longo of folk-rock band Slambovian Circus of Dreams (coincidentally, her neighbors).

As for the album closer, “You’re Aging Well,” that one carries special significance. It appeared on Williams’ first album, then Joan Baez recorded it with her and invited her to tour Europe and the States. By anointing Williams as a folk artist worthy of attention, Baez launched her career.

“I’m the same age now that she was when she took me on the road,” Williams marvels. On this version, she meshes her elegant soprano with Roberts’ beautiful piano playing, contrasting her delicate singing with her forceful push against conventional expectations for women. When she finally rejects them and finds her own voice, she revels in its power.

Which brings us back to that through line.

“Good and bad things happen, and it’s not necessarily a reward or indictment. I’ve just got to meet it.” Williams observes. “Like, I’m bringing my whole life to this moment; it will surprise me, challenge me, show me where I was wrong, even make a fool out of me, but my job is to show up and not take adversity personally. Real happiness doesn't have to feel like Snoopy dancing with Woodstock; it can just be knowing you have the resilience to meet whatever comes to you. I will call that a good life.”

Links
darwilliams.com
facebook.com/DarWilliamsOfficial
twitter:@DarWilliamsTeam
instagram:@darwilliamstour

# # #

For more information about Dar Williams or I’ll Meet You Here, please contact Conqueroo:
Wendy Brynford-Jones • wendy@conqueroo.com
Cary Baker • cary@conqueroo.com

updated: 2 months ago

Short Bio

Dar Williams’ lyrics contain bouquets of optimism, delivered on melodies alternating between beguiling lightness and understated gravity. Williams strongly believes that all of us possess our own power and ability to achieve, and she rejects the exceptionalism that encourages us to “admire that yonder star,” while making us feel small and insignificant; unworthy of shining on our own but hoping to catch enough distant light to inspire some tiny accomplishment. Williams has always been very interested in how to control our future and this album has to do with the fact that at some point, you just can’t.

Like everyone else, Williams spent 2020 in that state of non-control. She and longtime producer Stewart Lerman tracked most of the album, her 12th studio recording, in November of 2019. In late February of 2020, she cut the title tune in Woodstock with bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and Larry Campbell, who produced the track and played guitars, pedal steel and twangy baritone guitar. When told they had to postpone a mid-March mixing date, Campbell said he wasn’t feeling well anyway. Turns out he’d contracted a serious case of COVID-19. That was a clear sign that at some point, you have to meet life where it meets you …the common thread throughout that these songs, the willingness to meet life as it arrives.

Dar Williams was always in the right place at the right time for the success she’s had over a 25+-year career. She rose out of the vibrant mid-90’s Boston scene, inspired by the eclectic influences of alt-rockers, Berklee jazz musicians, slam poets, and folk artists, like Patty Griffith, Melissa Ferrick, the Throwing Muses, Vance Gilbert, and Jonatha Brooke. After a year of touring non-stop with her first album, The Honesty Room, in 1994, she was invited by Joan Baez to tour in Europe and The United States.

“Good and bad things happen, and it’s not necessarily a reward or indictment. I’ve just got to meet it.” Williams observes. “Like, I’m bringing my whole life to this moment; it will surprise me, challenge me, show me where I was wrong, even make a fool out of me, but my job is to show up and not take adversity personally. Real happiness doesn't have to feel like Snoopy dancing with Woodstock; it can just be knowing you have the resilience to meet whatever comes to you. I will call that a good life.”

updated: 2 weeks ago

I'll Meet You Here

Promotional Materials


Social Media Links

Website: www.darwilliams.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarWilliamsOfficial
Twitter: @DarWilliamsTeam
Instagram: @DarWilliamsTour
YouTube Channel https://youtube.com/channel/UC29Pd7LB-Dfd9wz1OS1UxcQ
YouTube Video good for promotion: https://youtu.be/MvxyaFmBbPc

updated: 4 months ago

Press Quotes - I'll Meet you Here

“Few are as familiar with the soul of the music industry as Dar Williams…(she)… is still pressing on the gas of her creativity... As far as her upcoming album goes, we can expect more of Williams’ clever lyrical arrangements.” – AMERICAN SONGWRITER August, 2021

As usual, Williams evades schmaltz; although it finds its positive streak, “Today and Every Day” is based around present-day realities, facing climate change head-on from its opening moments. Still, its music inspires from the moment one sprightly flourish throws the song’s curtains open.” – POP MATTERS August, 2021

If you haven’t heard Dar Williams’ name before, it’s probably because you’re not a professional songwriter — in that sphere, she’s been a legend for decades now. Among her other great attributes, she has that most elusive of gifts: the ability to write a complicated song that sounds simple…Yet another quiet triumph from one of our finest songwriting talents.” – CD HOT LIST (recommended releases for libraries) August, 2021

“The album unfolds like one big song and finds just the right places to land a punch and plant a kiss." - COPPER MAGAZINE September, 2021

“…Antje Duvekot’s stop-motion animation music video for “Today and Every Day,” from Dar Williams’ amazing new album I’ll Meet You Here(is)…the kind of perfect pairing of audio and visual that will remind viewers of the magic of that craft, and make you nostalgic for the heyday of MTV. Of course, “Today and Everyday” is merely one of the 10 incredible songs on what is best described as Williams’ best and most consistently enjoyable album since My Better Self…Williams remains one of the best singer/songwriters around.”
-- BALTIMORE OUT LOUD September, 2021

There’s an almost psychedelic quality to the shimmering Beatles-esque meditation on the nature of time. With a ruminative spirit, (Time Be My Friend) which is the first track on Dar Williams’ new album I’ll Meet You Here… the song unfolds with a languorous motion, following a crisp guitar line that echoes through the entire song and over which Williams layers her rich vocals.”

– FOLK ALLEY September, 2021

Dar Williams creates lyrical dioramas that melt forward in dreamy moment-to-moment evolutions - SOUND AND SOUL , feature 9/20/21


Dar Williams brings a new element to the singer/songwriter genre and adds watercolors to her music with her lyrics, rhythms, and soothing timbres.
-MIDWEST BEAT with Tom Lounges September 2021

If indeed, life is about meeting everything face on and not backing down from a challenge, then Dar Williams is certainly someone that you want on your side as you stride forward. Her writing remains as relevant today as it has always been; a steadying hand on the rudder and a voice in your ear that says “keep going, everything will work out and listen to your heart.” This album is a strong statement that this lady is not for turning. Her music resonates with both depth and heart and she remains one of the premiere songwriters of our day.
- LONESOME HIGHWAY Review by Paul McGee September 2021

Williams’ voice is stunning. She’s not Aretha Franklin or Barbra Streisand but she doesn’t have to be. Neither could write a song like Ms. Williams.--AMERICANA HIGHWAYS - album review, 9/27/21

“Here,” sees clearly, talks softly and warms the heart while opening eyes and tickling ears. --MAXIMUM INK -album review, 9/27/21

“Willams’ voice sounds timeless. She knows how to find a way into your heart with the gentle touch of music and poetically soft vocals…” -- JP’S MUSIC BLOG September 2021

I’ll Meet You Here offers a compelling insight into how Dar Williams has accepted change and lives with contentment. Her unique blend of encouragement and resilience is as much a gift to the listener as it must be for those who have been on her retreat - NO DEPRESSION- album review, 9/27/21

It’s simply filled with the kind of superbly crafted songs you’d expect, enhanced by the tasteful production of Stewart Lerman -
NEW FOLK INITIATIVE - album review, 9/30/21

Dar Williams has an unblemished streak of musical and songwriting excellence going back nearly three decades and before I started to catch-on a few years later. With I’ll Meet You Here she continues to envelope us in her melodic magic and inspired lyrical brilliance. FERVERCOULEE album review, 9/30/21

It’s a hugely mature and insightful album which attaches its themes to perfectly sequenced melodies and moods and it’s one of those albums that deserves to be listened in full, from start to end. THE ROCKING MAGPIE album review, 10/04/21

Like a fine wine, Williams is indeed a very special vintage that simply gets better and better with time. FOLKRADIO.COM.UK album review, 10/05/21

I'LL MEET YOU HERE is a mini prototype of a how to deal a record rich in smooth sophistication and ripened from a classy substance THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH UK album review, 10/05/21

The corner of the industry draped in heartfelt storytellers is, in fact, folk. This performer fits right in with the best-of-the-best – the Joni Mitchells and Emmylou Harris’. She still relates to those grinding along in the DIY circuit, too. Williams might have her first big label release with this record, but it doesn’t take away from the roots she has or the sound she’s curated around said roots…. It’s just broader. --The Aquarian album review, 10/06/21

I’ll Meet You Here (Renew/BMG) is her finest work this century. Tracks like “Magical Thinking” and “Time Be My Friend’ make the listener’s breathing stop, and with her famous alto breathy cry in “Little Town,” she can bring even the hardest of hearts to the edge without sounding the slightest bit maudlin. COLORADO SPRINGS INDIE album review, 10/06/21

Musically, the record is of a very high standard, with moving cello, tinkling piano and bright guitars and mandolin perfectly placed throughout, and even has Gail Ann Dorsey (of David Bowie’s live band) on bass. But it’s the lyrical content that truly lifts the album, and makes for a pleasurable listening experience.  --AMERICANA UK album review, 10/07/21

updated: 1 week ago

Short Bio

Dar Williams’ lyrics contain bouquets of optimism, delivered on melodies alternating between beguiling lightness and understated gravity.  Williams strongly believes that all of us possess our own power and ability to achieve, and she rejects the exceptionalism that encourages us to “admire that yonder star,” while making us feel small and insignificant; unworthy of shining on our own but hoping to catch enough distant light to inspire some tiny accomplishment. Williams has always been very interested in how to control our future and this album has to do with the fact that at some point, you just can’t.  

Like everyone else, Williams spent 2020 in that state of non-control. She and longtime producer Stewart Lerman tracked most of the album, her 12th studio recording, in November of 2019. In late February of 2020, she cut the title tune in Woodstock with bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and Larry Campbell, who produced the track and played guitars, pedal steel and twangy baritone guitar.  When told they had to postpone a mid-March mixing date, Campbell said he wasn’t feeling well anyway. Turns out he’d contracted a serious case of COVID-19.  That was a clear sign that at some point, you have to meet life where it meets you …the common thread throughout that these songs, the willingness to meet life as it arrives.

Dar Williams was always in the right place at the right time for the success she’s had over a 25+-year career. She rose out of the vibrant mid-90’s Boston scene, inspired by the eclectic influences of alt-rockers, Berklee jazz musicians, slam poets, and folk artists, like Patty Griffith, Melissa Ferrick, the Throwing Muses, Vance Gilbert, and Jonathan Brooke.  After a year of touring non-stop with her first album, The Honesty Room, in 1994, she was invited by Joan Baez to tour in Europe and The United States.  “Good and bad things happen, and it’s not necessarily a reward or indictment. I’ve just got to meet it.” Williams observes. “Like, I’m bringing my whole life to this moment; it will surprise me, challenge me, show me where I was wrong, even make a fool out of me, but my job is to show up and not take adversity personally. Real happiness doesn't have to feel like Snoopy dancing with Woodstock; it can just be knowing you have the resilience to meet whatever comes to you. I will call that a good life.”

updated: 3 months ago

Adult

Writing a Song That Matters

Writing a Song That Matters

** 2021 Dates coming soon  **

GARRISON INSTITUTE

Please join us for:
  • Songwriting
  • Yoga
  • Inspiration
  • Singing and Song Sharing
  • Delicious Farm to Table Meals
  • Gorgeous Hudson River Views

This workshop is for anyone over 16 (under 18 with parental consent) who wants to write a song that counts: for ourselves, for the people (or pets) we love and for the world. Our songs can be funny, heavy, catchy or sappy. We'll just be looking for ways to say what we really want to say. Your songs never mattered more.

This will be our 7th summer and 11th and 12th retreats at Writing a Song That Matters! We're incredibly grateful for the many returning songwriters that have become like family, the new retreaters who have taken a chance with us and the positive and useful feedback we have gathered as we continue evolving. Many new songs and deep friendships have been born from our circle and we have a very active, supportive and engaged private Facebook community of songwriters who have shared their magic with us.

updated: 1 year ago

Teen

coming soon

updated: 3 years ago

About Dar's Lectures & Workshops

About Dar039s Lectures amp Workshops

updated: 3 years ago

High School and College

Wesleyan Course: Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy

This course compared three movements in which music played a crucial role:
  1. The Consciousness Movement leading up to Woodstock and beyond.
  2. The Civil Rights Movement leading into the Black Power Movement.
  3. The Women's Music Movement leading into different branches of commercial music (Lilith Fair) and alternative culture (Riot Grrrls)
Then the course looked at how music and musicians move into the marketplace, comparing and contrasting the music of movements and markets and looking at the inevitable overlap of the two.

updated: 3 years ago

Panel Discussions

Topics:

  • Women in Music
  • Life on the Road
  • Balancing Career and Family
  • Green Touring
  • Touring As An Indie Artist
  • Music and Social Justice

updated: 4 years ago

Speaking Engagements and Teaching

Writing a Song That Matters

Writing a Song That Matters
Dar leads an inspirational songwriting retreat for any and all who want to improve their songwriting. Attendees spend five days at the Garrison Institute, a beautiful former monastery perched on the Hudson River. For details, go to darwilliamsretreat.com

updated: 3 years ago

Writing Books and Writing Songs

Writing Books and Writing Songs
An engaging, age-appropriate discussion of each creative process (prose and poetry) and a comparison of the two. Based on the writing of 8 studio albums on Razor & Tie Records and two young adult novels for Scholastic Press. Presentations are often 40 minutes of lecture/demonstration followed by 20 minutes of Q&A, but they are time-adaptable.

Schools Include:

  • Palmyra Middle School, Palmyra, NY
  • Ridgefield Middle School, Ridgefield, CT
  • Yorktown Middle School, Yorktown, NY
  • Meredith Middle School and High School, Meredith, NH
  • Ossining Middle School, Ossining, NY
  • Potomac School, McClean, VA
  • Seven Bridges Middle School, Chappaqua, NY
  • Milton Academy, Milton, MA

updated: 3 years ago