Dar Williams
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Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz

Tell us about your travel vehicle.

I have a 2013 Prius plug-in but it only takes 10 miles to charge so it's more of a token plug-in. It's not a sexy vehicle, but it has 145K miles on it, everything fits in and it never lets me down. So sexy to me.

How do you eat cheaply and / or healthy on tour?

The best trick I've learned is to meet a Trader Joe & # 39; s at the start of a tour. I get grapes, apples or clementines, red peppers, smoked oysters, cookies and "healthy" chips. I stayed in a dorm for a week and lived on a bag of groceries.

I wrote a book called The Tofu Tollbooth when I was in my early twenties – it's a health food store guide, and many co-operatives (Weaver St. Market in Carroboro, NC, Pioneer in Iowa City, Mercantile in Lawrence, KS) are still there. They're often in great neighborhoods for cafes and other businesses! Definitely recommend finding coops. They can be a little more expensive, but everything is cheaper than a restaurant.

I pop popcorn at home before long road trips. I also have a habit of drinking the coffee in the lobby of a hotel as it is free and already made (coffee in the room is more wasteful …). I always try to see how cheap / healthy / local / organic / no packaging I can go. Basically, I eat a lot of apples.

In addition, a friend showed me how she always stows her food in one place so that it is within reach when driving, she knows her options and two months later does not find a rotten banana in the back seat pocket. Pro tip!

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace it?

I change the strings every three or four gigs. Still, I break about three strings a year and have to start an apologetic charm offensive while someone digs a new set out of my guitar case. I only travel with a guitar. I use Elixir Strings and Martin SPs. Both great.

Where do you rehearse?

As a birthday present, my 11-year-old daughter set up a music room (her old room) for me. She put nice pillows inside and found pictures that she thought I would like and hung them up. You are all of me! It's surprisingly comforting.

It's also great to have my Spire capture device on hand. I was scared of learning new technologies, so in minute one of the facility I thought, “This is not working! Oh, that totally works. I love it."

What was the title and sample text from the first song you wrote?

"I should be happy where I am"

“I could find more sorrow in other places, just like slaughtering a lamb. So by the time I promise a new morning I should be happy where I am. ”I was twenty-five. Was just a joke. I was ten.

Describe your first appearance.

I played in a lounge in college. I was really lucky. All kinds of people showed up. Loving, excited, and probably a little stoned. You were so supportive! They didn't want to leave so I repeated some songs from the beginning when few people arrived. I remember seeing a guy outside who broke my heart. I played Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind" and stared straight at him. He had no idea.

What was your last job? What was your favorite job that day?

I worked in a gardening shop and loved it. They made fun of me for having a copy of Rodale & # 39; s Organic Gardening Encyclopedia with me at the counter. The owner also found some texts I wrote and randomly recited them to me. So embarrassing.

How has your music-related income changed in the past 5-10 years? What do you think it will be like in 5-10 years?

About 40% of my income was going around 2008 when streaming became the norm. Knowing about streaming couldn't replace it. The money just wasn't there. I started touring more and taking to the streets with fewer people. It was always my plan to do other things besides touring, so I'm one of the lucky ones. I lead a songwriting retreat called “Writing a Song That Matters”, I teach and do “Town Talks” where I talk about my book “What I Found in a Thousand Towns” and share the stage with church leaders in different cities and communities. I love all of the things that I do, so I ended up having a soft landing from the CD's fall.

What do you know now, what you would have wished you knew when you started your music career?

I think I always had that voice that said, “So what am I doing wrong today?” I like what my friend Jim did to address his fear of incomplete to-do lists. He started making lists of what he had done. I found it professional to be self-critical. The most professional thing I have done was to become more resilient and to accept myself and those around me. We learn and grow every day. I would tell my younger self to trust it.

Dar Williams' lyrics contain optimistic bouquets carried by melodies that alternate between beguiling lightness and subtle gravity. Williams firmly believes that we all have our own strength and ability to achieve something, and she dislikes the extraordinary that encourages us to "admire that star over there" while making us feel small and insignificant; unworthy of shining alone, but hoping to capture enough distant light to inspire a small feat. Williams has always been very interested in how we can steer our future and this album has to do with the fact that at some point you just can't do it anymore.

Like everyone else, Williams spent 2020 in this state of non-control. She and longtime producer Stewart Lerman recorded most of I & # 39; ll Meet You Here, their 12th studio recording, on the track in November 2019, playing guitars, pedal steel and twangy baritone guitars. When told they'd have to reschedule a mixed date in mid-March, Campbell said he wasn't feeling well anyway. It turned out that he had contracted a severe case of COVID-19. That was a clear sign that at some point you have to encounter life where it meets you … the common thread of these songs, the willingness to encounter life as it arrives.

Dar Williams was always in the right place at the right time for the success she had in her 25-plus year career. It emerged from the vibrant Boston scene in the mid-90s, inspired by the eclectic influences of alto rockers, Berklee jazz musicians, slam poets and folk artists such as Patty Griffith, Melissa Ferrick, The Throwing Muses, Vance Gilbert and Jonathan Brooke . After a year of uninterrupted touring with her first album The Honesty Room in 1994, she was invited by Joan Baez to tour Europe and the USA.

Connect with Williams online and on the go.


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