Dar Williams Biography

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Birth Name: Dorothy Snowden Williams
Born: 1967/04/19
Birth Place: Mount Kisco, New York, US
Years Active: 1990 - present
Genres: Folk, Folk-pop, Alternative Country, Singer-songwriter


Dar Williams (born Dorothy Snowden Williams, April 19, 1967) is an American singer-songwriter specializing in pop folk. Williams was born in Mount Kisco, New York, and grew up in Chappaqua. Her nickname “Dar” originated due to a mispronunciation of “Dorothy” by one of her sisters.

Williams moved to Boston in 1990 to explore a career in theater. She worked for a year as stage manager of the Opera Company of Boston, but on the side began to write songs, record demo tapes, and take voice lessons with now Celebrity Voice and Performance Coach Jeannie Deva. Deva encouraged her to try performing at coffeehouses, but her early years performing were made difficult by her battle with stage fright.

In 1990, Williams recorded her first cassette-only album, “I Have No History,” produced by Deva and engineered by Rob Lehmann at Oak Grove Studios in Malden, Massachusetts. In 1991, Williams recorded her second cassette-only album, “All My Heroes Are Dead” also produced by Deva and engineered by Huck Bennert, most of which was recorded at Wellspring Sound in Newton, Massachusetts. This album included Williams’ song, “Mark Rothko Song.” The original recording production of this song was later included on her third album “The Honesty Room.”

Williams recorded her first proper album, “The Honesty Room,” under her own label, Burning Field Music. Guest artists included Nerissa and Katryna Nields, Max Cohen and Gideon Freudmann. The album was briefly distributed by Chicago-based Waterbug Records. Williams soon secured a licensing-and-distribution deal for Burning Field with Razor and Tie, and in 1995 reissued the album on that label, with two re-recorded bonus tracks. The record went on to become one of the top-selling independent folk albums of the year.

1996's “Mortal City,” also licensed and distributed with Razor and Tie, received substantial notice, partially due to the fact that it coincided with her tour with folk legend Joan Baez. The album again featured guest appearances by the Nields sisters and Freudmann, as well as noted folk artists John Prine, Cliff Eberhardt and Lucy Kaplansky. With that success, Razor & Tie re-released “The Honesty Room.” By the time of her third release, 1997’s “End of The Summer,” Williams' career had gathered substantial momentum, and the album sold well given its genre and independent label status.

In 1998, Williams, Richard Shindell and Lucy Kaplansky formed the group Cry Cry Cry as a way to pay homage to some of their favorite folk artists. The band released an eponymous album of covers and toured from 1998 to 2000.

She has since released six more studio albums on the Razor & Tie label 2000’s “The Green World,” 2003’s “The Beauty of the Rain,” 2005’s “My Better Self,” 2008’s “Promised Land,” 2010’s “Many Great Companions” and 2012’s “In the Time of Gods,” as well as two live albums 2001’s “Out There Live” and 2007’s “Live at Bearsville Theater.”





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