• Plus: Crys Matthews
      Venue: Iron Horse Music Hall
      Date: Friday, February 21, 2020 ~ 7:00 PM
      Price:

    • Dar Williams has always followed her muse. When she was up in Somerville,
      Massachusetts in the early nineties, knowing that she wanted to pursue music or
      theater, she worked backstage at the Opera Company of Boston and wrote plays on
      the side. But she was in Boston, and the muse led her into the myriad open mics and
      tip jar gigs of booming folk revival. She opened a trunk of old songs and started
      writing new ones.

      In 2010, after seven studio albums, Dar released a greatest hits retrospective called
      Many Great Companions, produced by Gary Louris, with touring companions of the
      previous fifteen years, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, her best friends Nerissa and
      Katryna Nields, and Sean and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek.

      It was now that the muse started pointing in some new and unexpected directions. As
      Dar was writing songs for In the Time of Gods, her eighth album, she was asked to
      create a college course to teach at her alma mater, Wesleyan University. She toured
      with In the Time of Gods in the spring of 2012, followed by teaching Music
      Movements in a Capitalist Democracy in the fall. Teaching a university course was
      one of the happiest moments of Dar’s career. A friend advised her to lead a
      songwriting retreat. Dar said “I would only lead a retreat if it were called, ‘Writing a
      Song That Matters’, focused on the process of writing a song, not the industry that
      brings it to the public.” In 2013, Dar led her first Writing a Song That Matters retreat
      at The Garrison Institute in the Hudson Valley of New York. It was another highlight
      of Dar’s life and career. The next year, she added another retreat at the Omega
      Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. All the while, as Dar wrote songs for the album
      Emerald and prepared 20th anniversary tours for both The Honesty Room and Mortal
      City, the mists were swirling for a project that was both a departure and arrival point
      in her career.

      In the decades that Dar had been touring, she had been seeing how towns and cities,
      like people, had been coming into their own, becoming more resilient, unique, and
      prosperous. While so many people said that towns and cities were “dead”, she had
      been seeing them come back to life. She realized that the key ingredient in the success
      of these places was what she called “Positive Proximity”, where there was an
      understanding that living side by side with other people was a good, constructive
      thing. Positive proximity was a civic state of being that could be built and sustained,
      and Dar was collecting stories and notes to support her growing theory. She said,
      “Someone should write a book about this.” And the muse said, “You’ve written
      fiction books, you interviewed people for your green blog at Huffington Post, you’ve
      written about towns and cities in your songs since day one. The person who should
      write this book is you.”
      In the spring of 2015, just before setting out on the tour for her ninth studio album,
      Emerald, Dar signed a contract with Basic Books, now Hachette Publishing Group. In
      September, 2017, she started touring new venues, speaking in bookstores and at city
      planning conferences in support of her book, What I Found in a Thousand Towns, a
      Touring Musicians Guide to Rebuilding American Communities One Dog Run, .... At
      A Time. 2018 was a time to deepen her connection to these themes of town and city
      building and planning as Dar gave keynote speeches at the Boise Downtown
      Association, the Vermont ..., the Southern New England Planning Association
      conference, and the Congress of New Urbanism, among others. It was also the year
      for a very emotional and exciting reunion of Cry, Cry, Cry, where the trio returned to
      sing songs by newer songwriters. Dar still loves every minute of her job and always
      advises folks to “follow their muse.” She still goes wherever the muse leads her,which, presently, is right back on her couch, coffee on the coffee table, guitar in hand, writing her next batch of songs.

    • Performer Lineup:   Dar WilliamsCrys Matthews
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