Dar Williams may be the Internet's first folk music success story. Just as she was making the transition from open mikes and after-hours folk clubs to the national coffeehouse circuit, she was noticed by a number of e-mail list subscribers and created quite a buzz. Her photo was even chosen for the official shirt of the folk_music list.
The online Dar-list, which recently passed 1,000 members, or Dar-lings, as they like to be called, continues to be a core base of fans dedicated to sharing her music with others as they dissect lyrics and share inspirational stories.
The list was spawned soon after the release of Williams's first CD, "The Honesty Room." As the release of her second CD Mortal City approached, the list was humming with talk of fulle arrangements, electric guitars, drums, and more. While Mortal City included all of these, it also had plenty of the quiet beauty that had drawn listeners to "The Honesty Room."
Two consistent threads tie her third CD "End Of The Summer" to previous recordings. Most obvious is Williams's soaring soprano voice. Even with the new pop arrangements she is able to keep the listener focused on her vocals. Once compared to Joni Mitchell, Williams's sound has become uniquely hers. Her trademark is her ability to draw out a single syllable almost to a yodel.
The other clearly visible thread is Williams's highly literate songwriting. This is what keeps other songwriters talking about her.
Opting for a pop sound on enough tracks to keep the Dar-lings deliberating about modern production values, Williams encourages young fans to "Find your voice, do what it takes/Make sure you make lots of mistakes/To find the future that redeems ... And grow, and grow, and grow."
* The Dar Williams web page is at
/http://www.panix.com/~tneff/dar/ The Dar-lings hang out at Darfirstname.lastname@example.org.