Face the music: singer-songwriter Dar Williams is back with “I’ll Meet You Here”
Dar Williams’ exemplary writing is on display again on her new album, “I’ll Meet You Here,” which comes out October 1 and comes with a call to action to fight climate change.
Williams, whom I met on the phone while on the road in Pennsylvania, will celebrate the album’s release day with a performance at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield.
The album opens with a duet, entitled “Time be my friend” and I almost fell in when I realized it was with Gail Ann Dorsey, a phenomenal bassist who had been in David Bowie’s live band since the mid-90s. Dorsey is a great singer too, and she and Bowie’s “Under pressure,” which appears on the live album “A Reality Tour”, is downright dazzling.
Williams told me that Dorsey had a few live dates with her in 2000, and they’ve kept in touch over the years. “Time Be My Friend” was written before the pandemic began, but Williams said her sentiment rings all the more true in the era of COVID-19.
“We didn’t anticipate that we would have to befriend each other over time in a new way. We had to be nicer over time and, in a way, the weather was trying to be kind to us, ”she explained. Williams hopes the song acts like a soft, gentle hand on the back of someone saying, when bad things happen, they’re just something to meet.
Then there is “Today and every day”. Williams enlisted her friend and fellow singer-songwriter Antje Duvekot to direct the music video for the song. Duvekot has been making stop motion videos for years, and she went all out for it.
“Today Every Day” is about climate change and the importance of feeling empowered to be part of the solution. Williams said the song comes from the heart and speaks of his hope for the planet. She also believes the video saved the song in some way. “People were like, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ and I’m like, ‘No, no, this is my manifesto!’ “
In fact, Williams, who lives in New York’s Hudson Valley, recently launched the Today and Everyday Challenge which asks participants to share on social media how they are doing their part, even on a small scale, to help save the planet. Anyone who does will be entered to win tickets to a show for her and a signed album. Environmental organizations can also enter to win a private Zoom event with Williams. For more details go to darwilliams / com / about / today-every day.
There’s another song on “I’ll Meet You Here” that Williams and I talked about called “Little Town”. I read in a press release that the song is about two small town mayors who understood how much change was needed to move their cities forward. “These mayors, who saw the new immigrant populations as a gift and went the extra mile to translate that to their old buddies, were very touching to me,” said Williams.
The song features Bryn Roberts on piano and Dave Eggars on cello, and to me it’s the album’s flagship song. I wasn’t prepared for the emotional punch it would bring when I first listened to it.
“It’s nothing you did, you have to understand / You take it too fast, it’s going too fast / It’s nothing you’ve done, it’s not the color of your skin / But one thing you should know / You have to take it slow.
The song is an atrocious but deeply poetic take on racism and xenophobia, but also on what happens when a strong way of thinking changes. Williams’ voice is haunting. Williams told me that two of the things she achieved while writing her 2017 book, “What I Found in a Thousand Cities,” were what she calls pride in her hometown and welcoming the world.
“I think in their hearts, people don’t want it to be a paradox, and they don’t want this love for their little town or town to mean they’re xenophobic in any way.” These ideas are the basis of the song, which she said she would perform at Brownfield.
I first became a Williams fan in 1993 when she released her first full length album, “The Honesty Room”. It opens with the song “When I was a boy,” and it’s one of the most poignant pieces to examine gender stereotypes I’ve ever heard. She has released eight more albums since then and her gift for songwriting has never wavered. “I’ll Meet You Here,” her 10th album and the first in six years, brings this to the fore with eight new original tracks, a cover and a new version of “You’re Aging Well,” which originated from “The Honesty. Room. “
8 p.m. on October 1. Stone Mountain Arts Center, 695 Dugway Road, Brownfield, $ 40. stonemountainartscenter.com
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