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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Williams hits the Madison ra-Dar

Dar Williams returns to Madison's Orpheum Theatre, 216 State St., tonight to promote her fifth album, Out There Live. This introspective and often political singer-songwriter has really come into her own as of late by drawing on her folk-based background and adding her own twists. Williams intersperses her evocatively emotional songs with witty snippets of story, which truly engage the audience into her performance. If you're a longtime fan, or just curious, be sure to check her out this evening at 8 p.m. with openers Patty Larkin and Katie Curtis. Tickets may be purchased at the Orpheum box office, Exclusive Company or Magic Mill. 

 

 

 

So you're touring in support of your new album Out There Live' how's the tour going? 

 

 

 

It's going fine. It's going great!  

 

 

 

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Can fans expect to hear any new material at your concert tomorrow night?  

 

 

 

Pretty much working with the album, there's a new song that we're doing, but mostly, you know, a review of the other ones. 

 

 

 

I know you've played quite a bit in Madison, Stevens Point and other miscellaneous parts of Wisconsin. Are we simply a good venue for your music, or do you have more of a personal attraction to the area? 

 

 

 

I do have an attachment to Madison, I think from day one. You always remember who was a great audience in the early part of one's career, and one can expect this from Madison where people listen to things that are off the beaten track and support them. So I really loved playing concerts there. Even before that I did this book called The Tofu Tollbooth which is a directory of natural food stores and I was amazed at how many Madison had. The buzz around the Willy Street Co-op was really huge. You could tell that it was more that just a store. I went there when I came to Madison. 

 

 

 

You've recently gone from a sort of a girl-and-her-guitar show to more of a girl-in-a-shiny-shimmery-rockstar-shirt-with-her-band show. How has that transition been for you? 

 

 

 

You know, it's still me, so it's not really any kind of jump. I think there was one big jump that I took in '97 to play with a band at all. I went from always playing solo to playing with a band and I will confess that that was rough'it was a big challenge. It turned out that everybody on the bus had recently broken up with somebody. [laughs] It turned out to be a bus filled with highly introspective people, you know, whose sensitivity was heightened by what they were going through. The kindness and gentleness of the tour bus was very helpful. All of these things helped to alleviate the anxiety of playing with a band because I think it was time to try it. Now I'm touring as a trio and that's really been a great experience. ?? It's just sparse enough to really let the songs be heard with absolutely no problem. 

 

 

 

What aspect, would you say, of being a recording artist do you draw the most energy from? Do you prefer writing your lyrics, playing live or recording? 

 

 

 

I certainly get the most energy from writing songs, because that's the hardest part. Second hardest is recording because I end up learning so much. You get a lot of life lessons from having to hear yourself through earphones. But the most rewarding and exciting part is traveling and performing. 

 

 

 

So many of your lyrics are so powerful, so amazingly emotional. Is it ever hard for you to open yourself and your experiences up to so many people like that? 

 

 

 

No, I don't present experiences that are still that raw for me. There's a difference between emotional and completely raw and a button that can be pushed. What happens usually is, as humans march along, you suddenly realize that something's gone from a very sensitive topic to just a very important topic and maybe even a little stumbling patch that you'd like to point out to other people so that they either don't stumble, or when they do, don't think that they're the only ones. 

 

 

 

As an artist, how do you resist letting your fans, critics and the financial realm affect where you go with your music? 

 

 

 

I think it's difficult, and I don't know. I think it's always been difficult because at the end of the day you're answering to the same tribunal of voices in your head. Whether it's the question of how to perform in the first place or how to keep performing once you've reached a certain level in your career. The one thing that becomes difficult once you've become established is that you can package yourself more easily, and that can get in the way of you exploring more paths. I think at least for me, doing the same thing over and over again dries up a bit and the writing doesn't come back until a new path starts to emerge. I'm sure there's lots of people out there who still think I'm a girl with a guitar and everything I do sounds alike, but to me it feels very different every time. 

 

 

 

When people experience your music or hear you in concert tomorrow night, is there anything you want them to walk away with, any sort of message you hope to convey? 

 

 

 

Well, I would say that underneath all the layers of glitter, hopefully it'll just be stories. A friend of mine said I'm healing the Earth with stories. [laughs] For all that I have come to love about performing big shows and the heightened energy of those shows'it's me. You know, I deconstruct pretty easily, I can unpackage myself and expose different parts of me on the stage. Hopefully it'll be an invitation for other people to be excited about their own stories as opposed to sitting in a situation where they feel very removed from me and other people, in this very Western conventional setting. Hopefully, what folk music has brought is that it's a sense of access to the stories and a sense of belonging to the stories. That would be my hope. 

 

 

 

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