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Dar Williams


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Current material is folk/rock and mainstream pop. Early albums are more along the contemporary folk lines.

Status:

Most recent release, In The Time Of Gods (2012)

See also:

Dar Williams official site

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Cry Cry Cry, a side project with Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell

Comparisons:

Patty Larkin, Susan Werner, Cheryl Wheeler. (Sherlyn.Koo)

Nanci Griffith. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

Covers/own material:

Mainly her own material, with a couple of covers.

General comments:

Dar Williams is one of the hottest young singer/songwriters on the folk scene. As well as possessing a beautifully expressive voice with a three-octave range, Dar also has a remarkable songwriting gift. Even her simplest-sounding songs, on closer inspection, are revealed to be multi-layered and incredibly detailed stories, poetry set to music. (It has been said that Dar's lyrics are "so literate and detailed that her records ought to include a bookmark".) The sum total of all these gifts is compelling—I strongly urge anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of hearing this woman's music to do so. And fast. (Sherlyn.Koo)

i would firmly put her as a folk singer (grrl with acoustic guitar), though her later albums sound like she is stretching her wings a bit. her songs are very much in say an early Suzanne Vega storytelling sort of mode, so you can think of that as a jumping point. But unlike Suzanne Vega who sings in a sort of a plain legatto voice, Dar tends to be more expressive with her voice, and at times her lyrics tend to be a bit sophomoric (ooh someone might not like that description) and at times insightful. Nevertheless i think she is worth checking out if you go for something in that mode. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Dar has been, for me, an amazing experience—I bought The Honesty Room well over a year ago, listened twice, and filed it. Then I heard everybody gushing about End of The Summer, and reluctantly bought it. Kinda OK, no big deal, really. Then, in September, my wife & I went to see her at the beginning of her End of The Summer tour, and the rest, as they say, is herstory. I was 100% blown away by her artistry and by her on-stage electricity. (rkonrad@ibm.net)

I really love her. Her lyrics are sooo beautiful, and her voice is beautiful too, and I love the melodies.... Mortal City is my favourite of the three. (Marion)

Dar as a good example of great explicit songwriting that doesn't come across as either dull or preachy. (jwermont@sonic.net)

Comments about live performance:

She is absolutely delightful as a performer. She's has a very distinctive, expressive voice, and her songwriting is sensitive, clever, and spiced with a sense of humor that is original, witty, subtle, and in a class of its own. I just love the cleverness of her lyrics and the special little effects she adds to her delivery. For example in the song "The Babysitter's Here" after she describes the babysitter and her boyfriend, and then kind of mutters under her breath "someday I'll have a boyfriend just like that". (jsutton@rahul.net)

I don't see how anyone but the most cynical of people could not enjoy seeing Dar in concert. She's just so great live and her new songs are all typically brilliant —funny though often more of a "cleverly disguised melancholy", insightful, amazingly original, etc. I could rave about her for hours. One might say from something like "The Babysitter's Here" that Dar is "too cute", but her songs like those are so original that you just have to appreciate them, in my opinion. Those are usually the songs that draw people in at her concerts, but some of her songs are actually quite dark, though usually also maintaining a clever or humorous side which I just think is incredibly brilliant and unique to her. It makes songs which would otherwise sound tediously preachy very accessible and touching. I've never been so completely blown away by anyone's lyrics, and haven't been such an obsessed fan of anyone for years. I don't see how anyone who appreciates good lyrics can not love Dar. (abehrend@direct.ca)

Dar was great live! This was another show where I had never heard a note by the performer, and I was very pleasantly surprised. She has a very nice, smooth folk voice. It's not really that exceptional, but pretty expressive. I was really taken with her clever, catchy story songs, and was totally won over by the between song comments. I'd give her Christine Lavin's crown as the funniest woman in folk, and her voice is much better. Her "Christians and Pagans" Christmas song was a riot. I didn't necessarily want to rush out and buy her album afterwards, but I would see her again without a second thought, and would highly recommend her live show. (neal)

I saw Dar a few months ago, and I found the concert to be a really neat experience. I'd never been to a "folk" concert before and found the talky sing-alongy style quite nice, and I didn't think it detracted from the music at all. (cmont@rci.rutgers.edu)

i must confess i don't enjoy the full band as much as when it's just dar or maybe dar and the cellist. the rest of the band has a distressing propensity for drowning out dar's voice and making the lyrics incomprehensible live, which is sad because dar's clarity is one of the things i like about her. the (non-dar) guitarist was lots of fun to watch, though. anyway, dar did "when i was a boy" as the encore, with just the cellist (i forget her name), which was of course the perfect way to end. (9/98, damon)

I was pleasantly surprised—while not rocking, her performance still had some meat to it. And she still belongs in the breakfast cereal aisle. What a flake. At one point (during "Iowa", I believe) she asked everyone to hold up their lighters so her new bandmates could see what Falcon Ridge looks like at night. It was pretty cool, I must say, but ... well, it was Dar. 'Nuff said. :). (7/00)
     Tuesday night Dar Williams came to Toad's Place, a rather unexpected venue here in town. However, as expected the place was packed, and Dar and her band ROCKED.
     Dar had the same band she had at Falcon Ridge this year: a guitar player who was mercifully NOT named Billy Masters, drummer, keyboard player, and the incredibly cool Gail Ann Dorsey on bass. I think they're still getting used to each other, and Dorsey had to refer to sheet music on some songs, but it all came together and they sounded great. Dar was in particularly good voice, too—she's been sounding better with each passing year anyway, but that night she was really hitting all the notes. In between songs there was the rather silly banter we've come to expect—a bit too much exposition on the songs, and a few things she said got me to thinking that maybe the big tour bus has gone to her head a bit, but in the end she was just as cute and funny as ever.
     She played almost everything from The Green World, with the notable exception of "Playing To The Firmament"—I would have liked to have heard that one live. But she did do "And A God Descended" (preceded by a very funny tangent about the Wesleyan Religion department, which actually went over pretty well since Toad's was filled with about as many Wesleyan students as Yalies), and "Spring Street", which in my opinion is the best song on the album, was correspondingly the most kicking song of the main set.
     Halfway through she did a few solo guitar songs, and I was starting to worry that once again we wouldn't be able to escape without hearing that goddamned Babysitter song again, but the gods were smiling and instead we got a great rendition of "When I Was A Boy" (which will always slay me).
     The crowd was going insane by the time she ended the main set with "Another Mystery". For the encore she did "Iowa" and "As Cool As I Am" with the entire crowd singing along with every word (which could have been unspeakably annoying, but was instead very cool). Nobody was going to let her go anywhere after that, so she came back solo and did "The Christians And The Pagans", in response to the several requests she'd gotten throughout the evening. Dar left the stage about as happy as her fans—she even said "this was the best show so far, thanks!" as she left the stage.
     I get the feeling this is the band and the tour Dar has been waiting for, supporting the album she's always wanted to make. Sure, she's celebrated as one of the premier songwriters of the neo-folk generation, but at heart she's a pop star. (I've known that ever since I saw her do her best Susan Dey impersonation at her first ever band shows at the Iron Horse.) She was clearly having a lot of fun up there. (9/00, meth@smoe.org)

I finally got to see Dar Williams live last week. she was pretty good—a really very funny person, her voice—i thought—sounded a bit wobbly at first, but just got stronger and stronger as she went on. There were a lot of songs I wish she'd done ("What Do You Hear..." etc) but her version of "Are You Out There" was worth the price of admission alone. (12/01, adamk@zoom.co.uk)

Dar also was strong last night—and MUCH better than when I saw her open for Richard Thompson in August. Back in August, she seemed visibly nervous, sang a new song that actually sounded off-key, etc. I was worried for her. I didn't get to see her then since the Lyric Hammersmith is very formal and she wasn't selling any merchandise.
     Much better than her opening act for Richard Thompson indeed! The Borderline show was the last night on this tour, and I think they were glad to wind it up. However, I also think they were happy. All three of them commented on what it was like touring with other women instead of with men; it sounds as if they had a ball and really took care of one another. Dar also had her husband, son and mother-in-law with her. Perhaps having all of them with her aided her confidence. Dar does tend to sound better live than on recordings, that August gig being an exception. (2/06)
     Dar Williams' current UK/Netherlands tour has ended; we caught her in Maidstone back on Sunday, 30 April. It was the first time I'd seen her over here with a band, and she focused on songs appropriate for a band. She did play her cover of "Comfortably Numb" (forgetting some words for a moment and begging us not to tell Roger Waters :) solo with her acoustic guitar only. I rather liked it; I liked it more than the album version. (7/06, Silme@ix.netcom.com)

My first Dar concert, and she was charming and witty and her voice sounded lovely. It was mainly straight-forward full band rock/pop—can"t be subtle and acoustic at a noisy standing only club. She and band (guitars, keyboard, upright bass, drums) played lots from the new album ("It"s alright", "Book of love", the boring Fountains of Wayne cover etc) plus "February", "Spring Street." She ended with "Babysitter" since someone Joshua Radin babysat for turned up. I was so sad that she didn"t play "Buzzer", my fav by far from the new album, that it made me resent every other song on the set-list. How can she not realize that song is the star? (1/09, k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

Recommended first album:

The Honesty Room for folk fans, Mortal City for ecto fans. (Sherlyn.Koo)

Although the consensus on ecto seems to find Mortal City more palatable than The Honesty Room, I actually prefer The Honesty Room. Although Mortal City is also excellent, none of the songs on it touch me the way some of the songs on The Honesty Room do (particularly "When I Was a Boy", "The Mark Rothko Song", and the song about the nuclear family whose title I can't remember). I also think I prefer her singing on the first album. (jjhanson@att.net)

Most people will probably tell you to get Mortal City, but I'd recommend The Honesty Room as your first Dar CD. (cmont@rci.rutgers.edu)

Recordings:


The Honesty Room

Release info:

Independently released 1993 on Dar's own Burning Field label, re-released in 1994 by Waterbug records, re-released again in 1995 by Razor & Tie Music (following are details for the Razor & Tie version).—Razor & Tie Music—RT 2816

Availability:

Readily available in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended, especially for folk fans.

Group members:

Dar Williams—vocals, acoustic guitar.

Guest artists:

Mary Annis—vocals
Judy Bauman—handclaps
Max Cohen—electric guitar
Mark Dann—electric guitar, bass
Guy DeVito—bass
Craig Eastman—violin, mandolin, viola
Gideon Freudmann—cello
Dave Klock—drums
Rebecca Koehler—violin
Tom McClung—piano
Jaime Morton—handclaps
Katryna Nields (The Nields)—vocals
Nerissa Nields (The Nields)—vocals
Dave Noonan—drums
Linda Ridley—handclaps
Adam Rothberg—organ, electric guitar, Roland R-8, Fisher-Price xylophone, bass guitar, dobro, accordion, congas, acoustic guitar
Rico Spence—bass

Produced by:

Dar Williams, Adam Rothberg, David Seitz, Brooks Williams

Comments:

The Honesty Room is a remarkable debut album, highly recommended to anyone with even a passing interest in fine music. This album really shows Dar's skill as a crafter of songs—from the achingly beautiful ballad "I Love, I Love" to Dar's light-hearted look at heaven, "Alleluia", these songs shine with intelligence and style. Standout tracks include "When I Was A Boy", which is about the innocence we lose as we grow older, and "The Great Unknown"—how Dar manages to pack so many layers of meaning into a four-and-a-quarter minute song I will never know. I only know that I'm thankful that she has that gift, and grateful beyond words that I've been allowed to appreciate it. (Sherlyn.Koo)

A gem! Dar's gentle style and lovely voice combine to create a wonderful, light, fun album with quite a powerful undercurrent. "When I Was A Boy" is definitely an immediate favourite! The Honesty Room as a whole really didn't do much for me. i've been thinking about it and i suspect that the main reason for this is that it was very much a folk album; straight, unembellished folk that while nice, never does much for me. and something about it actually annoyed me sometimes. it took lyrics as incredible as those in "when i was a boy" for me to really notice the songs, so most of the album never got to me. but "when i was a boy" is the song of the year—nothing has ever affected me quite the way it does, aside from quite a bit of kate bush's material. listening to "when i was a boy" always evokes a sniffle and a lump in the throat. the funny thing is, that although i enjoy the rest of the album, only the one song has had such a profound effect, and the rest of the songs, though very good, don't quite have that special quality that elevates the album into the top bracket. (damon)

Wow! It's really terrific. I was driving to work Saturday morning, and listening to "When I was a boy." That is one incredible song. Lyrically it really says so much about the men and women. I urge you to check it out (if you haven't already.) (colford@chlotrudis.org)

This CD gets better and better. It's mostly fairly plain acoustic guitar but the songwriting is rich, and as I said before, the 1st 3 tracks are worth the price of admission. Very thoughtful stuff that makes you pause and think. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

I was disappointed with Dar Williams' "The Honesty Room." Her songs are decently written—clever and smart, smile-provoking—but I found her voice way too clipped in that fresh-girl-folksinger mode. (pas@MATH.AMS.ORG)

Great album—every track is great. More folky than what I'd usually listen to, but still love it. She can make the simplest sentiments sweet, and is able to capture the nostalgia of childhood better than any other artist. (jjhanson@att.net)

One of the best debut albums I've ever heard—pure, perfect, finger plucking folk music. Dar's got a nice, sweet voice, and a terrific lyrical skill, and is a talented guitarist as well. Great album; I love every track, with the exception of that song at the very end. Favorite Track: "You're Aging Well"/"This Is Not The House That Pain Built"/"I Love I Love" (3 way tie? :) (NyxNight@aol.com)

I love this album. Her bittersweet folk ballads have a subtle genius that sets her apart from some of the other singer-songwriters I've heard recently. (cmont@rci.rutgers.edu)

I haven't heard much of the album, but "when i was a boy" immediately struck me. wonderful lyrics make this song alone worth the price of the album. (contzen@sfu.ca)

I admit to not being very fond of most of the songs on The Honesty Room (I almost never like "fast" songs and most of these are pretty boppy) but "This Is Not The House That Pain Built" never fails to have me in tears by the end. Besides, I like to sing harmony with Dar while I'm listening to it. (sagetodd@postoffice.ptd.net)

The Honesty Room is pretty much my favourite album of all time—the most lyrically brilliant and beautiful thing I have ever heard. (abehrend@direct.ca)

The Honesty Room has some stunning moments on it. It was kinda cool to witness "When I Was A Boy" become an instant classic in front of my very eyes—and since the title was inspired by Jane Siberry, it was just that much cooler. :) (meth@smoe.org)

Wonderful, beautiful, great. I really like this, and can see how Dar has progressed through her career. She is now one of my goddesses. (Matt.Bittner)

i must say that i think her first cd, The Honesty Room, is her best. I highly recommend checking it out. it has some of her most gorgeous songs on it. (jess913@blackfoot.net)

I picked up Mortal City, which I thought was okay—interesting, but a little lyrically dense, without the tunes to draw me in. Still, it provoked enough interest that I picked up more. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


The Christians and the Pagans EP

Availability:

Was available as a promotional item and at concerts—now is hard to find

Comments:

dar williams', "christians and the pagans" is probably my favorite seasonal tune of all time. (dmw@mwmw.com)

I think it's one of the best Christmas songs ever, and is definitely an instant classic. Not too bad—Dar's got two of those in her repertoire already (the first being, of course, "When I Was A Boy". (meth@smoe.org)


Mortal City

Release info:

1996—Razor & Tie Entertainment—RT 2821-2

Availability:

Readily available in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended, especially for folk and ecto fans.

Group members:

Dar Williams—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Art Baron—didgeridoo
Larry Campbell—acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, fiddle
Cliff Eberhardt—vocals
Mark Egan—bass
Gideon Freudmann—cello
Erik Friedlander—cello
Steve Gaboury—piano, textures
William Galison—harmonica
Jeff Golub—electric guitar
Eileen Ivers—fiddle
Lucy Kaplansky—vocals
Zev Katz—bass
Sammy Merendino—rhythm textures
Katryna Nields (The Nields)—vocals
Nerissa Nields (The Nields)—vocals
John Prine—vocals
Mark Schulman—electric guitar
Roger Squitero—congas
Billy Ward—snare, drums

Produced by:

Steven Miller

Comments:

Another excellent album; Dar proves once again why she is at the forefront of the contemporary folk movement. This album is less folky than the first, containing as it does the decidedly poppy "As Cool As I Am" (with its "wall of sound") and the Christmas/Solstice song "The Christians And The Pagans". Dar even takes an extremely ecto turn with the title track "Mortal City", backed by synthesized "textures" and ambient piano and guitar sounds. Other highlights include "February", which draws parallels between a frigid winter and a dying relationship, and "Iowa", which uses the hills of that state as a metaphor for love. This album is a classic—I recommend it wholeheartedly to any ecto fan. (Sherlyn.Koo)

excellent! this new album sounds very good all the way through. i mean, who can argue with digeridoo music? eh? one of the songs had those awful twangy country-sounding instruments in it, but aside from that...well, i like it :) some lovely witty songs. i can't recommend this album enough! dar can do no wrong this time 'round. she's combined her folky style and voice with some *wonderful* extras, which make the music much more palatable for me. the digeridu on "as cool as i am" is unbelievably funky (digeridus are among my favourite instruments, i swear), and i absolutely *adore* the wonky cello sounds in "the pointless, yet poignant, crisis of a co-ed". and somehow even the underlying folkiness works now, whereas before it didn't at all. so there's nothing in the way of dar's wonderful lyrics any more, and they can get through to me as they (generally) didn't before. from sad and serious to light and witty, they work on all levels. i think it was definitely the music that interfered with my appreciation of the honesty room, since the "new dar" sounding version of "travelling again" on the christians and the pagans ep really grabbed me, whereas the "old dar" version on the honesty room never did at all. "the christians and the pagans," by the way, is a christmas-oriented song actually much *more* than just "worth listening to": it is actually a song that is *excellent* despite the fact that it has something to do with christmas. not too many of those. i also think this album is more ectopalatable, in general, than her last, so i'd urge anyone who's never heard her or who wasn't too impressed with the last album to at least give mortal city a listen! (damon)

Just a little note, from an admittedly *very* biased, obsessed fan: Do yourself a favour and run to your nearest store to buy Dar Williams' Mortal City—an absolutely *brilliant* album!!! (abehrend@direct.ca)

"As Cool As I Am," "February" and "Iowa": these three songs blow me away everytime. i can understand why "as cool as i am" and "february" would, but i don't understand why i like "iowa" as much as i do. part of it is certainly dar's explanation of the song before playing it live, but something about it is just, i don't know, resonates. the only song that i do not care for is "pompeii" because it doesn't seem to go anywhere. the rest though. whoa! (woj@smoe.org)

WOW! I think it's a hundred times better than her first. The harmonies and lyrics sucked me in the very first time I listened to it, and I can't listen to it all the way through without crying. (sagetodd@postoffice.ptd.net)

Mortal City is a much more consistently interesting and listenable album than The Honesty Room, in my opinion, and the instrumentation is a lot better. *Where* did she get her backing musicians and vocalists?!? John Prine, Mark Egan, Mark Shulman, Eileen Ivers, Lucy Kaplansky, Cliff Eberhardt, Katryna and Nerissa Nields...it's an all-star lineup. Amazing. I think her more fully-arranged songs work better than the more "folky" numbers, mostly because it seems like she hasn't quite figured out how to make her musical accompaniments perfectly fit all of her lyrics yet. I think she's been writing poetry and lyrical prose far longer than she's been writing music, and it shows. Case in point: "The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed", which is a song about Wesleyan Angst at its worst (a fact which Dar confirmed when I spoke with her afterwards, as she explained exactly which on-campus incident inspired the song). Basically, if you don't know much about Wesleyan University you won't find it nearly as hysterically funny as I do. It does contain a bit of musical brilliance in the middle (the wonky cello sounds) that had me laughing so hard I almost drove off the road when I heard it for the first time, but other than that it's kind of musically boring. Kind of like if Christine Lavin went to Wesleyan and wrote a song about it. But that's a minor quibble. :) The title track, "Mortal City" is one example of the lyrics and the music working perfectly together...I get a distinct Twelve Monkeys feeling from it, thanks to the lines "the people are dying and nobody cares" and "one city got the plague" and Dar's explanation that the song takes place in Philadelphia...it's bizarre. It's also my favorite track on the album. This album is overall big step forward from The Honesty Room. It would have earned a place on my year's best list for "February" and the title track alone, but happily the rest of the songs are amazing too. (meth@smoe.org)

I've also been listening to Mortal City over and over! Great stuff. Even though it took a couple of listens to grab me, I'm really enjoying it. I've found a lot of the songs insinuating their way into my brain. She certainly has a unique way of expressing feelings. This one will keep me busy for a long time. (rholmes@cs.stanford.edu)

I was rather slow to warm to this album, but it's probably the album I've played most over the course of the year. Truly beautiful. (jjhanson@att.net)

Though I'm not in love with a couple of the songs ("This Was Pompeii" and the title track), the rest are so utterly brilliant that the album is wonderful. (mcurry@io.com)

Dar Williams' Mortal City is a great follow-up to The Honesty Room. It captures a good portion of the facets of this incredible multi-faceted artist. I've seen Dar several times live and she's the type of artist that weaves a lot of subtleties into her performance including visual and audio spontaneity that are very difficult to capture on a studio recording. This comes close. (jsutton@rahul.net)

Very good. An album I do not hesitate for a second to put in my CD player. (Alvin.Brattli@phys.uit.no)


End of the Summer

Release info:

1997—Razor & Tie Entertainment—RT2830-2

Availability:

Readily available in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly, highly recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Larry Campbell—acoustic guitar, bouzouki, pedal steel, dobro
Dee Carstensen—vocals
Bill Dillon—electric guitar
Mark Egan—bass guitar
Amy Fairchild—vocals
Lorraine Ferro—vocals
Shane Fontayne—electric guitar, dobro
Erik Friedlander—cello
Steve Gaboury—"textures"
William Galison—bass harmonica
Charlie Giordano—accordion
Lincoln Goines—acoustic bass guitar, bass guitar
Justina Golden (Justina & Joyce)—vocals
Jeff Golub—electric guitar, electric slide guitar
Lucy Kaplansky—vocals
Sammy Merendino—"beat farms", drums
Steven Miller—acoustic guitar, tambourine
Katryna Nields (The Nields)—vocals
Nerissa Nields (The Nields)—vocals
Shawn Pelton—hi-hat, cymbals, snare drum, marching drum, drums
Richard Shindell—vocals
Kaz Silver—vocals
Roger Squitero—congas, tambourine
Carol Steele—timbales
Glen Velez—tambourine, pandeiro, bodhran, frame drum, riq
Joyce Zymeck (Justina & Joyce)—vocals

Produced by:

Steven Miller

Comments:

Dar Williams, it seems, just keeps getting better and better. She's come a long way since her folksy beginnings—her latest album, End of the Summer, is a masterpiece, with tracks ranging in style from pure folk to catchy pop and even to rock'n'roll. Despite the seemingly disparate styles of the separate tracks, the album's underlying strengths remain the same as always: Dar's clear, sweet soprano, stronger than it's ever been thanks to a year of voice lessons; her remarkable songwriting skills; and her often quirky choice of subject matter ("Party Generation" is about an aging party animal who can't find anyone to party with on his birthday; "What Do You Hear in These Sounds" is about the benefits of therapy). Some folk purists may be dismayed by the increasingly complex sound and instrumentation of some of the songs on this album (in particular, the liberal use of drum machines), but in my opinion Dar pulls these changes off with ease, thus highlighting her strength and versatility as an artist and performer. Besides, she hasn't completely abandoned her roots, just built on them—amidst the pop songs there are a few folk gems that are as good as anything she's ever done, such as "If I Wrote You" and the arrestingly sad "The End of the Summer". But it's the pop songs that immediately catch your attention. Two of the best tracks on the album are "Are You Out There", an ode to the independent radio stations and deejays of Dar's youth, and "What Do You Hear in These Sounds", a song about therapy that simultaneously manages to provoke laughter and provide much food for thought. In fact, there isn't a single bad song on this album. One thing is clear—whatever genre she chooses to write for, Dar Williams is a momentous talent and definitely someone to keep watching. (Sherlyn.Koo)

Amazing. Brilliant. I find that I like it even better than Mortal City (is that even possible? :). I think "what do you hear in these sounds" is a great song (probably my favorite) as well as "It's a war in there" (did I get that right?), "Party Generation" is very cool, and even though she didn't write it, "Better things" is catchy and, I think, a great way to end the album. I'm more impressed by Dar with each album. :) (Songbird22@aol.com)

while dar's new album is still loaded with an unbelievable amount of creativity and prose, i (and just my little monstrous opinion!) think that the title track is actually one of the weakest. i find myself skipping it when listening to the album. i don't know, the song is just unusually dragging for dar; it kind of just lingers and wrinkles. the song evokes emptiness for me, and of course that's part of dar's motivation i think but not as much emptiness that actually lies in it. standout songs are definitely "if i wrote you"," it's a war in there", and "what do you hear in these sounds?" but i think the problem and why the press is reacting so badly to it has to do with the order of the songs. take a look at honesty and mortal. both contain KNOCKOUT first songs, "When I Was a Boy" and "As Cool As I Am". while "Are You Out There?" is a "cool"-sounding song, the actual lyrics are nothing special or even that deep. and that's fine, truly it is...EXCEPT for the fact that that is exactly what dar is known and loved for, for putting into words the impossible thoughts and desires of people. (enzo1@idt.net)

My first exposure to Dar Williams. I like it. (stevev@hexadecimal.uoregon.edu)

Although I absolutely love "Are You Out There" and "What Do You Hear in These Sounds", and actually like "My Friends" and while not really caring for "The End of the Summer" (exactly opposite of Meth), and don't mind the silly humor of "Party Generation" and "Teenagers, Kick Our Butts" or the politics of "Bought and Sold", and find myself unable to not feel better after listening to "Better Things", I find myself not listening to this album much at all, after the first month of owning it, while I still return quite frequently to Dar's earlier works. Perhaps its because all of the songs on this album are pretty immediate—it's easy to understand what they're about and all the emotions therein, while her previous albums were like rosebuds, blossoming with repeated listens, each time revealing more layers and more beauty. Still, Dar's songwriting skill is undeniable, and I really love the verse from "What Do You Hear in These Sounds" about when the Berlin Wall came down. If that doesn't capture the essence of self-acceptance, I must not yet have grasped it. (jjhanson@att.net)

There is an album that I can't put out of the player, Dar Williams latest. I wasn't impressed by the honesty room but after all the talk on ecto about End of the Summer I had to give it a try. It is a masterpiece. It will very likely be my album of the year. (Yves.Denneulin@imag.fr)

I like it very very very much. Lots of angst. (swiebe@callisto.uwinnipeg.ca)

I hate to sound so redundant here, but End of the Summer is amazing. (kcd@cray.com)

Dar is now one of my goddesses. A truly fascinating CD. Her work—to me—is amazing. "Are You Out There" goes through my head quite often. A must buy. (Matt.Bittner)

Wow...what a great cd. Dar has once again managed to top her previous album. I had heard versions of several of these songs at Dar's shows, but in their final forms they are better than I had imagined. Strict folk purists might be dismayed at the use of drum machines and such to create what are referred to in the album credits as "beat farms" on some of the songs, but I think they work well with the material. Unlike similar attempts by some artists, the beats here accent the songs rather than define them, remaining in the background rather than overpowering everything else. In other words, don't be scared off by the drum machines. :)
     Standout tracks for me on the first listen included the incredible "If I Wrote You" (with Richard Shindell on backing vocals), "What Do You Hear In These Sounds" and "Bought and Sold." Anyway, I recommend this album very, *very* highly. Another wonderful album by Dar. (mcurry@io.com)

This disc has been living in my car since the day it came out. I love the direction her music is going, and her songwriting is still as deeply engaging as ever ("If I Wrote You" can still bring tears to my eyes, many months later). Her voice has really come a long way, too. Another perfect driving album. I've got to give the best songwriting award to "If I Wrote You", which just kills me every time. Best production award goes to "Are You Out There", closely followed by "What Do You Hear In These Sounds". The latter song tends to bug me a bit, because there are a couple spots where she totally blows the meter, and it sets my teeth on edge ("I don't go to therapy to find out if I'm a freak" should definitely be "to find out if I AM a freak" and, similarly, "when I hit a rut she says to try the other parent" should be "when I hit another rut"...but I'm just being a nitpicker, sue me). I'm really interested to see how these are going to work live with the band. I don't expect "Are You Out There" to cut it at all—I hope I'm pleasantly surprised. :)
     I think "The End of the Summer" is the second-best song as far as the songwriting goes. The first time I heard it was at the beginning of last summer, and it moved me almost to tears, as it continues to do today. She definitely has a knack for capturing the feeling of a season, as evidenced by "February" on her last album. For "boring and cliched" I refer you to the song about her friends. That's the one that had me really worried about the new album, when I heard her play it last spring. I just skip over it now—problem solved. :)
   But what's best about this album is that it's brilliant writing, is what it is. For example, there are volumes in the line from "The End Of The Summer" (runner-up for the best songwriting award on the album, by the way) that goes, "it's that time of year when you send your children to the moon". Dar knows exactly which words to use to convey the most imagery and feeling. (And then she can come up with some really stoopid stuff, like the party song (which I still enjoy) and "Teenagers Kick Our Butts". But hey, it's tough to be a goddess all the time. ;) (meth@smoe.org)

Well, it's a great album. But am I the only one who thinks that Dar wants to be Shawn Colvin when she grows up? Particular standouts so far are "Are You Out There" (which somehow, lyrically, reminds me of the last song on Laurie Anderson's Strange Angels), "If I Wrote You," "What Do You Hear In These Sounds", and the title track. Which I guess is to say that I agree with everyone else who's posted that the first half of the album is stronger than the second. "Are You Out There" is sublime (could someone explain why I don't hear it on the radio every day?) and "If I Wrote You" is, well, okay, it's also sublime but in a completely opposite way. A must have for the folk-ish loving. (burka@jeffrey.net)

The album disappoints me, with mediocre arrangements that do nothing to highlight the lyrical charms of the songs, and even a few of the songs disappointed from that side too. When I heard a solo acoustic version of "What Do You Hear In These Sounds?" live in concert, it was much more powerful than the album version. (neal)

The beautiful songs like 'If I wrote you' are as beautiful as those on Mortal City, but there are some tracks that I really don't like ('Party generation', 'Teenagers...'). (Marion)

Brilliant! (rkonrad@ibm.net)

Appropriately enough, spent most of autumn in heavy rotation. Probably just the season, but I find myself listening to Mortal City again more than End of the Summer lately. End of the Summer will undoubtedly have its turn again. (rjk1@cs.wustl.edu)

Well, today i got to play new music from Dar William's latest album. I played the first track...boy was i surprised by it :) I loved it! It showed a progression in her studio work...from The Honesty Room's straightforward singer-songwriter-folky sound to Mortal City's experimentation with fuller instrumental arrangements to this...it had a funky mixture of techno beats throbbing through the music and electric guitar and bass playing around...zounds! (paul2k@aol.com)

I loved her live but didn't expect to like this very much because I don't listen to The Honesty Room, her first, very often. But End of the Summer is different, better, wonderful. Sounds better every time. (Kelley.Hays-Gilpin@nau.edu)

Many on ecto included End of the Summer on their best of the year lists, but I still consider it her weakest. (afries@zip.com.au)

i was noticing the same thing while listening this afternoon (and i hadn't even noticed that meredith wrote the same thing!). in some ways, it's not unlike tribe's abort (the second version): the first half kicks your ass and the second half massages your brain. kudos right now have to go to "if i wrote you" though. (woj@smoe.org)

After listening to only two songs, I decided to send a "thank you" note to the ecto list for recommending this. Praise enough? This is a great album. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


What Do You Hear in These Sounds EP

Release info:

1997—Razor &Tie—RTS 737

Availability:

Available from Razor &Tie

Ecto priority:

Worth the price of admission for "Wilder Than Her".

Comments:

This is an EP celebrating the release of the single for "What Do You Hear in These Sounds". It's got two versions of that song plus some never-previously released versions of other songs, and a cover of a Fred Eaglesmith son, "Wilder Than Her", that Dar recorded with him.

The cover of "Wilder Than Her" is a stunning reinterpretation of the song, and reveals a side of Dar that isn't heard elsewhere. It's one of my favorite Dar songs anywhere, and makes a strong argument for her as an amazing song interpreter (along with Cry, Cry, Cry) as well as a fantastic songwriter. (neal)


the green world

Release info:

2000—Razor &Tie Entertainment, LLC., PO Box 585, Cooper Station, New York NY 10276 USA—7930182856-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams—vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, additional piano on "And a God Descended"

Guest artists:

Steuart Smith—guitars, Hammond organ, keyboards, percussion, harmonium, bass, mellotron, accordion, banjo, electric sitar, Wurlitzer
Rob Hyman—pump organ, keyboards, loop, muse, Halifax organ, Hammond organ, piano
Graham Maby—bass
Steve Holley—drums
Knox Chandler—electric cello, additional guitar on 3 songs
Sammy Merendino—percussion
Carol Steele—percussion
Jane Scarpantoni—cello on "Spring Street" and "We Learned the Sea"
David Mansfield—violin, string arrangements
Billy Masters—electric guitar, additional guitar on 2 songs
Fred Parcells—trombone on "Calling the Moon"
Doug Plavin—drums, percussion
Stewart Lerman—12 string guitar, mellotron

Produced by:

Stewart Lerman

Comments:

I think this is Dar's best album yet. In a different way from Mortal City which is probably still my favorite, with songs like "The Blessings" and "The Ocean" and "Iowa" that I can repeat over and over again. But the green world is consistently strong, and I could repeat the album over and over. Highlights for me are "I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono," "Another Mystery," "I Had No Right," and "After All." (JoAnn Whetsell)

It's *excellent*. Only one song that makes me cry so far (which, for Dar, is well below the average) but I haven't really spent enough time with the lyrics booklet yet. Lots of catchy tunes, lots of wonderful lyrics, lots of Dar doing that thing with her voice that makes you fall in love with her. I love it. But then, Dar could probably set the Ikea catalogue to music and I'd love that too.... (Sherlyn.Koo)

Okay, so The Green World didn't grab me as immediately as The End of the Summer, but it's a real grower, and has converted my partner, who usually dismisses what she calls my "whingeing women". This is a breakthrough, not to be taken lightly. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

This is Dar's catchiest, most accessible, and most unforgettable album yet. Every song is a keeper. Some have criticized her for seemingly turning her back on her folk roots on her way to becoming a pop star, but I for one will happily follow her down this path. Her lyrics are as on the mark as ever, and the melodies are the kind that stick in your head for days. This disc has been living in my car practically nonstop since the day I brought it home, which is always a good sign. I have a feeling that for a long time to come, whenever I want to listen to something by Dar, this is the disc I will reach for. (meth@smoe.org)

Good solid album, love the song "Spring Street", but the album just didn't quite offer enough to make it memorable. (jjhanson@att.net)

Is anyone else in love with Dar Williams' new CD? I have to admit, it took me a couple days to get into it...on the first listen, I was struck by how "mainstream alternarock" the production was. But Dar is such a versatile artist, she can work her magic even in that arena! I'm not really familiar with her last CD, but The Green World definitely rivals Mortal City for sheer listenability. Best songs, in my opinion, "What do you love more than love" and "We learned from the sea". (Yes, the accordion in the latter song DOES remind me of Titanic, and YES, the beginning of "Playing to the Firmament" is HIGHLY reminiscent of "Dancing Queen". No matter—everyone should DEFINITELY get this CD right now! (hotel_america@hotmail.com)

I only have End of the Summer so I can't compare it to anything else, but End of the Summer is more raw. I think Dar's voice has gotten better too. I don't mean to say that her voice wasn't good before, but there were sometimes/parts where it kinda grated on me. I didn't find that on The Green World at all. The songs are a little more "pop"-y (to my ears anyway) but I like it very much. Yes, go get the CD. (ecalos@earthlink.net)


Out There Live

Release info:

2001—Razor & Tie Direct, LLC (PO Box 503 Village Station, New York, NY 10014)—7930182871-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams

Guest artists:

Steuart Smith—guitars, keyboard, backing vocals
Steve Holley—drums, percussion, backing vocals
Gail Ann Dorsey—bass, guitar, backing vocals
Jeff Kazee—keyboards, accordion, backing vocals

Produced by:

Steve Addabbo (Executive Producer: Ron Fierstein)

Comments:

It's hard to capture the feel of a live show in a live album, but Out There Live does a pretty good job. I've only seen Dar in concert once, but I remember that show for the energy and the intimacy of the performance and the stories she told about particular songs. Three such stories are captured on this recording, and they're separate tracks, so you can skip over them if you want to. A great blend of songs, old and new. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I enjoyed Dar Williams' excellent new musical release. I expect it of her, so no surprises there, mere appreciation. Sorry. (jwaite@ucsd.edu)


The Beauty of the Rain

Release info:

2003—Razor & Tie (PO Box 503 Village Station, New York, NY 10014)—7930182886-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Rob Hyman—Hammond organ, keyboards, Wurlitzer, melodica, piano, reed organ
Steuart Smith—guitars, piano, 12 string guitar, Hammond organ, harmonica, Ebow guitar
Eric Bazilian—mandolin, guitar
William Wittman—bass
Steve Holley—drums
Stewart Lerman—guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion
John Medeski— Hammond organ, clavinet, piano
Stefan Lessard—bass
Paul Sokolow—bass
John Popper—harmonica, vocals (3)
Carol Steele—percussion
Chris Botti—trumpet
Alison Krauss—vocals (6, 9)
David Mansfield—violin (6, 9)
Sammy Merendino—drums (7)
Bela Fleck—banjo (7, 8)
Michael Kang—violin (8)
Cliff Eberhardt—vocals (9)

Produced by:

Stewart Lerman and Rob Hyman

Comments:

I'm listening to "The Beauty of the Rain" for the third time now. It's taken me this long to really get the third song, "I Saw a Bird Fly Away" (with John Popper on vocals and harmonica).
     First listen: I liked it, but the album didn't really get going for me until the fourth song. Enjoyed the harmonica on the third track, but the song seemed disjointed, like there was John's part and Dar's part, and somehow I wasn't listening to the two together as a complete song. I'm happy that I recognize a song (track 6, "The One Who Knows") from a summer concert. Dar's first (at least released) cover, "Whispering Pines" bored me. The music really does sound like wind whistling through trees, but that's something I appreciate more than like. I find Cliff Eberhardt's vocals jarring. The final track, "I Have My Lost Dreams," seems sweet but sappy. I look forward to future listens, knowing that not everything grabs me right away, and usually the albums that have to grow on me end up having more staying power.
     Second listen: I like it better. I like the first 2 songs better, and track 3 feels less disjointed. "Whispering Pines" still doesn't work for me, but that's okay. There are usually one or 2 songs on Dar's albums I don't like so much. I enjoy the middle as much as before. Final track seems sweeter and not sappy, but maybe ends a couple seconds too quick.
     Third listen: I'm really starting to like this now. I really enjoy the first 2 songs, and track 3 now feels purely fun. The bouncy/happy/upbeat songs like "The World's Not Falling Apart" and "Closer to Me" remain my favorites (I think this is true of her previous albums too), but the slower songs "The One Who Knows," the title track, "The Beauty of the Rain," and "I Have Lost My Dreams" are quite beautiful and I like them a lot too. "Whispering Pines" has grown on me, even Cliff's singing.
     The album also has great cover art. Are you supposed to see a face in the water on the back of the cd booklet? I really like the little insights into the songs that she provides. (JoAnn Whetsell)

A little winsome and lightweight, I thought, but with some nice enough moments. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


My Better Self

Release info:

2005—Razor & Tie—7930182944-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Marshall Crenshaw—vocals (1, 4), guitar (solo) (4), backing vocals (10)
Eric Bazilian—vocals (1)
Steve Holley—drums, glockenspiel
Mike Visceglia—bass, Taurus pedals
Ben Butler—guitar
Steuart Smith—guitars, keyboards, piano, acoustic guitar, organ
Julie Wolf—accordion, melodica, mellotron, piano, organ, clavinet, Vox organ, glockenspiel, Fender Rhodes
Rob Hyman—Lowry organ, piano, Cordovox, Wurlitzer electric piano
Sammy Merendino—percussion
Neal Evans (Soulive)—organ, piano, bass (6)
Alan Evans (Soulive)—drums (6)
Eric Krasno (Soulive)—guitar (6)
Ani DiFranco—vocals, guitar (8)
Stewart Lerman—acoustic guitar, guitar
Patty Larkin—vocals (13)

Produced by:

Stewart Lerman

Comments:

My Better Self is only a 3 star (of 5) effort. There are some really good songs here, but quite a bit of mush too. "Blue Light of the Flame" is just boring, "Two Sides of the River" makes an unfortunate foray into blues territory, and "You Rise and Meet the Day" is kind of sweet but not very interesting. "The Hudson", while a nice idea, sinks under the weight of its good intentions, straining the song's rhythm to namedrop New York landmarks and neighborhoods, but as the last track it can easily be skipped.
     But then there are the songs I really, truly like. "Teen for God" is the "What Do You Hear in These Sounds?" of this album, a song about difficult social issues set to bouncy music. "I'll Miss You Till I Meet You" is a love song the lonely might cry themselves to sleep to at night. The 3 covers in particular are very well done: the beautifully harmonized "Echoes" is one of the personal/political songs on the album; "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" is upbeat and fun, and "Comfortably Numb" is atmospheric, a real departure for Dar. "So Close to My Heart" and "Empire","the most overtly political song on the album, are classic Dar songs in sound.
     Maybe because I like Dar so much I'm willing to forgive a lot, but I do think the successes outweigh the misses here, and the good stuff is good enough to make the album worth having. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Dreary drudge from someone who seems to have lost her spark or even her will to record. She sounds detached and bored throughout, and on the most pointless cover EVER, "Comfortably Numb," even Ani DiFranco sounds barely conscious. The cover art's crap, as well. Really, Dar, you shouldn't have bothered....Oh. You didn't. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


Promised Land

Release info:

2008—Razor & Tie

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams

Guest artists:

Suzanne Vega—background vocals
Ben Butler—guitar
Lara Meyerratken—keyboards
Patrick Olguin—flugelhorn
Stephen Holley—drums
Brad Wood—bass
Greg Leisz
Travis McNabb
Mike Visceglia
Pelle Hillstrom

Produced by:

Brad Wood

Comments:

I'm enjoying Dar Williams' Promised Land heaps. Lots of lovely melancholy slower songs ('Book of love', 'Tide falls away', 'The business of things'), a perfect pop non-hit ('Buzzer', about the Milgram social psychology experiment, what an imaginative subject!), a couple upbeat numbers ('It's alright', 'Go to the woods'), a gorgeous folk ballad 'Holly tree' that people who only like her first two albums should listen to. Plus a cover of the wonderful Hedwig's 'Midnight radio'. I've barely listened to any Dar since End of the summer. All those CDs are back in NZ so I can't re-listen to them and figure out whether I'm just finally ready for 'New Dar', or if Promised Land is substantially different from Rain, Better self and Green world, or if I didn't give the middle albums a chance, or if it settles my stomach after ODing on Amanda Palmer, or if... What happens to you when you drift away from an artist and then re-discover them? Do you try to like the lost years' stuff? Do you wonder why your ears are so fickle? Do you suspect your expectations of having been lowered? I know each case can be different, but I like it when, for whatever reason, one's paths re-converge with an old favorite. (k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

Many Great Companions

Release info:

2010—Razor & Tie—07 9301 83112 2 9

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dar Williams—guitar, vocal

Guest artists:

Gary Louris—guitar (disc 1, tracks 2-4, 6, 9-11); vocal (disc 1, tracks 2-4, 6, 11)
Sean Watkins—guitar (disc 1, track 5); vocal (disc 1, tracks 5, 11)
Sara Watkins—violin (disc 1, track 5); vocal (disc 1, tracks 5, 11)
Mary Chapin Carpenter—vocal (disc 1, tracks 7, 11)
Motherlode (Stacy Labriola, Patti Pelican, Terry Platz)—vocal (disc 1, track 11)
Patty Larkin—guitar (disc 1, track 12)

Produced by:

Dar Williams and Gary Louris

Comments:

In a nutshell: 32 tracks, 26 songs, 7 albums, 17 years. I read a review that said this retrospective has 2 discs for 2 kinds of fans: Disc 1: Songs Revisited with Guitar and a Few Friends (new acoustic remakes of 12 songs) for devoted fans and Disc 2: Best of Dar Williams (a traditional "greatest hits" disc of 20 recordings) for casual fans (or for devoted fans to give to potential fans).
     As a longtime fan, I rather disagree. I love disc 2 and listen to it more often than disc 1. It's livelier for one thing. Also, as much as I love Dar's albums, most are at least a little uneven, so it's great to have most of her best songs from all of her albums together. It runs over an hour, so I don't always listen to it in one go, but it's a fun listen whether I start at the beginning or somewhere in the middle.
     Most of the tracks on disc 1 don't sound very different from the original versions, and I often find myself thinking that the new renditions are lovely but kind of pointless. Still, the disc is growing on me with each listen. Therefore I'd recommend the whole set for fans. (JoAnn Whetsell)

In the Time of Gods

Release info:

2012—Razor & Tie—79301-83320-2-6

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans; recommended for others

Group members:

Dar Williams—acoustic guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Charley Drayton—drums
Zev Katz—bass
Gerry Leonard—guitars
Marika Hughes—cello
Rob Hyman—keyboards, piano, accordion, keys
David Uosikkinen—drums
Eric Bazilian—bass
Shawn Colvin—backing vocals (4)
Larry Campbell—dobro

Produced by:

Kevin Killen

Comments:

Similar to Promised Land, but not as good. I've found all of Dar's albums to be somewhat uneven, but they each have something that really captures me, something that makes me laugh or sigh, makes me feel pain or wonder or joy. With this new album, I really enjoy the opening track "I Am the One Who Will Remember Everything," but the rest floats by nicely but without particular impact. I still think it's a solid album, and it has grown on me, but the lack of really standout moments is a bit disappointing. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Dar is the author of two children's books, Amalee (2004) and Lights, Camera, Amalee (2006).

She released a DVD Live at Bearsville Theater in 2007.

She has contributed songs to the following:

Compilations:

  • "Travelling' Again" on Shelter: The Best of Contemporary Singer-Songwriters (1994)
  • "Cool as I am" on Lesbian Favorites: Women Like Us (1997)
  • "Flinty Kinda Woman" on Memorial Day: American Impressionist Songwriters, Vol. II (1997)
  • "February" on Mega Celtique (1999)
  • "The Babysitter's Here" on The Silverwolf Story (1999)
  • "The Babysitter's Here" on A Celebration of Family
  • "Iowa (Traveling III)" on Intimate Portrait: Women of the Heartland (2001)
  • a live version of "Are You Out There" on Being Out Rocks (2002)
  • "The Babysitter's Here" on For the Kids Three (2007)
Live compilations:

  • "The Great Unknown" on Postcrypt: Commemorating 30 years of Postcrypt Coffeehouse 1964-1994 (1995)
  • "When I Was A Boy"* on Women Live from Mountain Stage (1996)
  • "Cool as I am"* on Live at the World Café, Volume 5 (1997)
  • "This Was Pompeii"* on Folkscene Collection: From the Heart of Studio A (1998)
  • "What Do You Hear in These Sounds"* on Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music (1998)
  • "If I Wrote You"* on Main Stage Live: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Album (1999)
  • "When I Was a Boy"* on Radio Woodstock: 25th Anniversary (2005)
Kerrville Folk Festival collections:

  • "The Babysitter's Here"* on Kerrville Folk Festival: 1995 Highlights (1996), on Kerrville Folk Festival Highlights (2003), and on The Best of the Kerrville Folk Festival, Vol. 1 (2003)
  • "The Christians and the Pagans"* on The Women of Kerrville (1996), on The Best of the Kerrville Folk Festival, Vol. 2 (2003), and on Kerrville Women (2003)
Soundtracks:

  • "Road Buddy" on Smoke Signals (1998)
  • "What Do You Hear in These Sounds" on Providence (2002)
  • "The Beauty of the Rain" on Monster-in-Law (2005)
Tribute albums:

  • "Highway Patrolman"* on Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska (2000)
  • "Oh Had I a Golden Thread"* with Toshi Reagon on If I Had a Song: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 2 (2001)
  • "All Men Are Liars"* on Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe (2001)
  • "You Won't See Me"* on This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul (2005)
  • "Weaver Song"* on Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins (2008)
Benefit collections:

  • "The One Who Knows" on ParkinSong Volume One: 38 Songs of Hope (2004)
  • "Just Like That"* with Patty Larkin on Remembering Rachel: Songs of Rachel Bissex (2005)
  • "House of Fire"* on Sing SOS: Songs of the Spectrum (2009)
*Track unavailable elsewhere

Collaborations include:

  • "You're Aging Well" with Joan Baez on her album Ring Them Bells (1995)
  • "Cry for the Working Man" with Rob Lytle on his self-titled album (1995)
  • "To Be More Beautiful/Sofas & #2 Pencils" with Chris Chandler on his album Collaborations (1999)
  • "This Land Is Your Land" with Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Jose Feliciano, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Bill Miller on the compilation Rockin' Patriots (2001)
  • "Wild Mountain Thyme"* with Dan Zanes on Night Time (2002)
  • "While Roving on a Winter's Night" with Darol Anger and John Gorka on Darol Anger's album Heritage (2005)
  • "Flos Regalis," "Ave Regina Coelorum," and "Weep, O Mine Eyes" with Rani Arbo and Justina Golden on Justina Golden's album Flos Regalis (2005)
  • "Amelia with Jaimé Morton on her album That Wild Blue (2008)
  • "Good Thing" with Patty Larkin on her album 25 (2010)
  • "Solartopia" with Pete Seeger on his album Tomorrow's Children (2010)


Thanks to Sherlyn Koo and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.


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