Folk-pop singer Dar Williams brings honest storytelling to Lyric on December 15th

Monday, December 5, 2011

Folk-pop singer Dar Williams brings honest storytelling to Lyric Dec. 15

By Maureen Kenyon

Early in her career, folk-pop singer Dar Williams opened shows for Joan Baez.

"It was a dream come true," she said. "She was the perfect person to tour with because she had been treated like she was on the way out, and throughout it all, she had a lot of grace and a lot of humor. She really was doing it for the right reasons."

Touring with Baez launched Williams' career.

Her debut album, "The Honesty Room," was released in 1995, and it became one of the top-selling independent folk albums that year. Compared vocally to Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin, Williams will perform Dec. 15 at The Lyric Theatre in Stuart. She will be accompanied by a keyboard player — Williams plays guitar — and she said the show will be a mix of older songs and newer songs as well as selections from her new album that drops in April.

"I'm just touring with seven albums worth of material that I enjoy playing," she said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Visiting Florida in the winter months will be a treat, Williams said. She grew up in New York, moved to New England to start her career and now lives near New York's Hudson Valley, an area that just had been hit with a an unusual Halloween snowstorm.

"I think by then if things are going the same way, I'll be more than ready," she said.

"I love Florida," she added. "And wild Florida is never that far away either ... alligator sightings and things that sting you on the beach. It's exotic. To me, that is not what I grew up with. For me, it was just lots of shoveling."

Williams' quirky, smart, from-the-heart style of storytelling are what make her a favorite among folk-pop fans. Today, she still writes that way, but the themes are a little different, she said. Her new album — she's still working out the title — has a lot to do with power and creating solutions to problems in the world instead of being a passive observer.

"Instead of being the kid at the café table saying you want to change the world, you are now the adult who is actually doing it," she said.

The popularity of bands like British folk-rock foursome Mumford & Sons that create Americana-type music — traditional, instrument-based rock — are keeping folk music alive by delivering it to the mainstream listener, Williams said.

"The desire and impulse to create lyric-based music and the desire to listen to it is not going away," she said. "It's music in the intention of how it was created, and I never think of it as dying. I'd get out of it. You want to be part of something that's full of life."