- Released: January 25, 1996
- Label: Razor & Tie
Spin - 5/96, p.109
7 - Flawed Yet Worthy - "...she delivers her songs with a light, Joan Baez soprano, and clean, finger-picked guitar, occasionally augmented by dobro, mandolin, fiddle, and cello..."
Entertainment Weekly - 1/26/96, p.58
"...Her second full-length album is alternately haunting, tragic, and whimsical....she may well be folk's most original and incisive songwriter." - Rating: A
Sing Out! - Vol.41 #1, p.130
"...the Joni Mitchell of her generation....clever and smart songs that are witty, wordy, melodic and, sometimes, confessional..."
- 1.As Cool as I Am
- 3.Iowa (Traveling III)
- 4.The Christians and the Pagans
- 5.This Was Pompeii
- 6.The Ocean
- 8.The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed
- 9.The Blessings
- 10.Southern California Wants to Be Western New York
- 11.Mortal City
Personnel: Dar Williams (vocals, guitar); Katryna Nields, Nerissa Nields, Cliff Eberhardt, Lucy Kaplansky, John Prine (vocals); Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, dobro, fiddle); Mark Shulman, Jeff Golub (electric guitar); Eileen Ivers (fiddle); Erik Friedlander, Gideon Freudmann (cello); Art Baron (didgeridoo); William Galison (harmonica); Steve Gaboury (piano) Mark Egan, Zev Katz (bass); Billy Ward (drums, snare drum); Roger Squitero (congas); Sammy Merendino.
Recorded in Dar Williams' bedroom, Massachusetts and at Sorcerer Sound, New York, New York.
Personnel: Dar Williams (vocals, guitar); Cliff Eberhardt, Katryna Nields, Lucy Kaplansky, Nerissa Nields (vocals); Larry Campbell (guitar, dobro, mandolin, drums); Jeff Golub (electric guitar); Erik Friedlander, Gideon Freudmann (cello); William Galison (harmonica); Art Baron (didjeridu); Steve Gaboury (piano); Billy Ward (drums, snare drum); Roger Squitero (congas).
Recording information: Dar's Bedroom, MA; Live Wire, New York, NY; Sorcerer Sound, N.Y.C., NY; Spa Studios.
Photographer: Barry Tenin.
Unknown Contributor Role: Jos? Garcia .
MORTAL CITY, the follow-up to Dar Williams' successful debut, THE HONESTY ROOM, is rife with whimsy, wit, and the confessional style of songwriting that first drew fans to Williams. Her confessional style remains engaging, charming, and rarely self-indulgent. Williams tackles delicate subjects skillfully. On "As Cool as I Am," for instance, she sings about female jealousy and feelings of inadequacy in male-female relationships. Threatened by a woman who seems to have caught the attention of her lover, Williams wrestles with her own insecurity. Williams emerges victorious, ultimately declaring that she will not be afraid of women and won't allow her herself be intimidated by them.
"The Christians and the Pagans" tells of a woman's Christmastime visit to a relative's house-with her female companion. Family members are miffed (the subject and her buddy are said "pagans"), but Williams' subtle humor and keen sense of melody win the day-and propel the song. A strong second set, MORTAL CITY proves that Williams is a formidable talent who won't be disappearing anytime soon.