ST JAMES HALL i
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Dar Williams has become a major force on the New England folk scene. An idiosyncratic songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy and the quirky; her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but with a few acidic and at times hilarious twists.
On one level, the sizable body of work accumulated by celebrated writer/artist Dar Williams is a continuing narrative of her life — what she’s experienced and what she’s observed during her years of intensive touring. On another, it forms a detailed look at the course of modern-day existence in the decade and a half between 1993, when Williams released her debut album, The Honesty Room, and 2008, when her longtime label Razor & Tie released her seventh and most recent studio album, Promised Land. Throughout her career, Williams has employed a reporter’s keen eye and a fiction writer’s feel for nuance in the act of confronting what she’s described as “the big picture of how people approach life,” doing by examining and illuminating the minute details.
At the core of Williams’ work is a belief in the innate ability of people to make a better world, the product of countless observations in her travels and conversations with her fans. If anything, her optimism has intensified as she’s crisscrossed America during the tough times of recent years. “My big secret,” she says, with a twinkle in her eye, “is that we are gonna make it — but we’ll be the last to know.”