Dar Williams: One of the Most Inspiring Singers I Know

I can probably credit much of the beginning of my love of singer songwriter music to Dar Williams. I think the other portion of credit goes to a whole bunch of fabulous ladies at Lilith Fair in Atlanta, including Sarah McLachlan, but that’s a whole other entry!

I was first introduced to Dar’s music by this boy I had a crush on in college. He was from the East coast and had heard her out there. He could play guitar, which was probably a big factor in my initial attraction to him. Dar’s song Iowa was of course a big hit at our little college in the cornfields and we often requested that he play it (although he once changed the words from “I’ve never found a way to say I love you” to “I’ve never found a way to say I like you” in subtle hint that I was not quite his type – ouch. He really did try to let me down gently, and I have him to thank for several song inspirations and the Dar introduction, so it’s all good).

College was also where I started learning to play guitar myself. darwilliams.net had a super nice tab/chords page and much of Dar’s music was simple enough for me to play. Some of her less easy stuff was the big motivating factor to finally learn some B minor chords.

After college I had a brief stint of living in Boulder, Co. While I was in Robb’s Music Store I saw a black and white poster printed on blue paper for a Dar concert at the Boulder Theater. I was broke, my roomies didn’t want to go and I had beg one of my co-workers to at least come in a little early since no one would swap shifts with me at the juice bar. I got there just in time and ended up sitting in the very, very back of the theater. It was totally worth it. I soaked up every minute, every note, I was in pure bliss, including the opening set by Catie Curtis.

When the show was over the theater emptied out pretty fast, but a few people were hanging out in the lobby looking like they expected her to come out, so I bought a CD and my very first guitar case sticker that said “We Find Magic Everywhere” (line from The Christians and the Pagans) and then patiently bummed around, even after several people gave up. Sure enough, Dar eventually came out. I was shocked at how small she was physically, compared to how much she radiated on stage. When I got to her at the table, all I could do was put my hand over my heart and say “Thank you!” and pray that she understood even one fraction of the gratitude I was feeling. I can still remember how she signed the lyric booklet of Out There Live on the white space of the picture of her arm.

This the email I sent to one of my friends after that first concert:

Wed, 17 Oct 2001. I just got back from a Dar Williams concert and it was AWESOME!!!! I love getting to see these powerful women perform, it’s so inspiring. Any good performance reminds me that I want to offer something to the world too, and hearing someone with similar experiences, issues, desires or feelings makes me feel that my voice is valid, and could actually inspire as well. Woosh! Too many things rushing through me right now.

The desire to create and connect, the frustration of knowing I don’t have the technical skills to communicate what’s on the inside to the fullest extent, the pure happy high of being in the presence of an amazing artist…


I’m still working on those technical skills, but in the meantime this blog lets me, in my little way, contribute to the sharing of some pretty inspiring voices with the world.

The thing that got me thinking about Dar Williams in particular tonight was this contest they are running right now for people to host pre-screenings of her new live concert DVD. People who host screenings and then put up photos/reviews of the event are entered to win a guitar signed by Dar. OH. MY. SHEESH. How exciting would that be? (I’d probably write an entry about it on par with Ingrid Michealson’s excitement at being featured on Zach Braff’s MySpace page.)

I already sent in my questionnaire. Fingers crossed. If nothing else I am very looking forward to when the DVD is available for purchase. Dar is very fun to watch live – she tells the most amazing stories, and it’s fabulous to see how her imagination works!

If you are new to Dar, I definitely recommend you check her out:
Official Site
Fan Site
Dar on iTunes
Dar on Amazon

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2 Responses to “Dar Williams: One of the Most Inspiring Singers I Know”

  1. Frank Gualtier says:

    Excellent blog — my favorite so far, I was totally sucked into the story.

    Yah — she’s a tiny thing isn’t she!?

    And I saw Ingrid’s picture awhile back (she said she pee’d her pants or something when Zach had her song up) heh heh…

    First thing I’ve read in awhile that I felt I fully connected with — thank you dear, that felt good :)

  2. Heather says:

    Oh, I’m so glad! It was good for me to write too, connected me more concretely to why I love music so much and the whole reason I want to blog about it – my tiny way of making the world a better place!

    There are so many amazing people out there saying profound, inspiring, heart-healing things, and I’m quite sure if more people listened they would be happier!

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