Dar Williams Biography

Dorothy Snowden Williams, 19 April 1967, Mount Kisco, New York, USA. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams first gained exposure by playing tiny church halls and cramped coffee houses on the small-town Massachusetts folk circuit. Her debut album, The Honesty Room, was released by Grapevine Records in 1995 and attracted immediate critical acclaim. Billboard magazine featured Williams on its cover and ran a story concerning the ‘redefinition’ of the folk genre. The songs on The Honesty Room which inspired the media glare balanced lyrical poise with musical accessibility. The album was quickly followed by the release of Mortal City in 1996, a collection recorded in her own bedroom and produced by Steven Miller (a Jane Siberry, Marianne Faithfull, Juliana Hatfield and Suzanne Vega collaborator). Some critics noted that Miller’s résumé also quite accurately pinpointed Williams influences, though some of the song titles, such as ‘The Pointless, Yet Poignant Crisis Of A Co-Ed’ and ‘Southern California Wants To Be Western New York’, were entirely her own. Other contributors included John Prine and Eileen Ivers. Though some considered that the songs lacked the immediacy of her debut, critical reaction was once again complimentary.

Williams’ third album, End Of The Summer, fleshed out her acoustic musings with electric instrumentation, and saw the singer moving away from the oppressive personal confessions of her previous sets. A joint set with fellow singer-songwriters Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell followed in 1999. Another excellent batch of albums were released over the subsequent years, and it remains a mystery why this artist does not have a wider following or command bigger sales.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.