|DAR WILLIAMS - BIOGRAPHY||
Dar Williams has become a major force on the New England folk scene. An idiosyncratic songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy, and the quirky; her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez but with a few acidic and, at times, hilarious twists.
She was born in Mount Kisco, NY, but raised in Chappaqua the daughter of medical writer/editor Gray Williams and Marian Ferry, an active figure in Planned Parenthood. Her parents were educated at Yale and Vassar respectively. Raised in a decidedly liberal arts atmosphere, Williams began studying guitar at age nine and wrote her first song at eleven. In high school she was interested in athletics, but an ankle injury led her to audition for the musical Godspell. She became active in drama and by her senior year, after composing more music and writing plays, considered herself a playwright. She blames an 'Existential Crises' at age 16 for her creativity and sharp sense of humor.
In her sophomore year at Wesleyan College in Connecticut, Williams spent a few months in Berkeley, CA, where she wrote songs and performed at the Plough & Stars. After earning a B.A., she moved to Boston in 1990 to find a career in the arts where she dabbled in everything from directing plays and operas to performing. By the years end she was stage manager for the Opera Company of Boston. She also began taking voice lessons and it was her teacher, Jeannie Diva, who encouraged Williams to try the coffeehouse circuit. Williams tried hard, especially between late 1992 and early 1993, but things didn't pan out, so she abandoned Boston for the relaxed folksy, artsy atmosphere of Northhampton, MA, home of many prominent universities.
Williams claims to draw much inspiration from her home community. Her love of the folk scene stems from her admiration of its integrity toward honesty and real emotion, and a creative freedom not found in more popular music genres. She loves trying to use traditional methods to express the realities and foibles of contemporary life. After several self-released cassettes, Williams made her proper debut in 1993 with the independent Honesty Room to considerable critical acclaim for both her beautiful soprano voice and her lovely, intriguing songs. She signed to Razor and Tie Records the following year who reissued the album. Her second album, Mortal City (1995) has been similarly praised, and was followed by 1997's End of the Summer. Williams performs on the college and coffeehouse circuit and has also been winning rave reviews for festival appearances, including the Newport Folk Festival and the Mississippi River Music Fest, St. Louis; she issued Cry, Cry, Cry in 1998.