Dar Williams at The Clifton Center

Sponsored in part by WFPK and First Capital Bank of Kentucky, Dar Williams at The Clifton Center last night was emotionally moving and inspiring. I am not sure I could have enjoyed it more than I did. I kept pinching myself and my "date" to ensure it was real. Dar and her guitar, acoustic. Dar, singing many of the songs that got me through the last decade, songs that shaped my little worldview, songs that sometimes let me escape.

Do any of my few readers know the singer/songwriter?

I was blessed to interview Dar in the late October of 2000 for the University of Kentucky's student newspaper. I was able to talk to her over the phone, and she was friendly, engaging, and happy to answer the questions I was obliged to ask her. (The first album she bought might have been The Who, the first concert she remembers attending was The Police, etc.)

When I went to her show the night before the presidential election in the year 2000, I was sick. Literally. The next day I wound up in the emergency room at UK's hospital with a spiked fever, hallucinations, and e coli in my bloodstream... the doctors gave me IV Cipro, which was a medication given to those exposed to Anthrax. I learned I was sick because I "let a UTI go" and it turned itself into a kidney infection, then got worse and worse over the course of a week or so. Anywho. That was a fun week of hospitalization.

That 2000 show, Dar had a full band behind her and was touring behind her current album, The Green World. The vibe at Kentucky Theatre that year was loud. We stood. We sang along, we being everyone who knew the words. It was all that and a bag of chips for me, a college student voting in her first presidential election, a la an absentee ballot. I was toting myself around Lexington that semester in a pint sized Geo Metro with a cd player, usually blasting Dar Williams, Wilco, or Ani. I was sooo anti-preppy girls back then. Yes, I digress.

Last night, Dar's show was intimate. When she walked on stage, I stood, but no one else really did. When she opened her set with Calling The Moon, I wanted to cry. She sang Spring Street and After All. Those three are from The Green World album, and are some of my favorites. When she sang The Babysitter's Here, from her debut album, Honesty Room, I really went wild. (But it was in my seat, singing along quietly, as not to disrupt the stranger next to me on my left.)

She invited her opening act, Katie Herzig, (and two other gals) up to sing a couple of power songs with her, I envied them. Plug for Katie Herzig, if I may: I didn't know of her music, but she's quite progressive and a self-made talent, and her songs have made it onto episodes of Grey's, Smallville, etc. Another tangent: I also didn't know the music of Dar's opening act back in 2000. Her name was Catie Curtis. I saw her years after at a free show at ear x tacy, and love her still, to this day. Anyway, go listen to all three of them: Dar, Katie, and Catie.

Dar(ling) also sang The Christian's and the Pagans, a song which features a character named Amber. Of course I love it for that reason alone, but the song is really just about family coming together at the holiday table, regardless of the way they live their lives. Very much Dar's style.

Yes, there were songs I wanted to hear that Dar didn't play. I wanted to shout out their one word titles, but I didn't, because no one else at Clifton was shouting at Dar. When she finished, I did shout encore during the loud standing ovation, since she did us one more back in 2000, in Lex. Dar reappeared and gave us another one of my personal favorites - a lovely song, perhaps written for one of her lifelong friends. She dedicated it to David. The title of the song is When I was a Boy and is off her first album.

Please check out Dorothy Snowden Williams at her website http://www.darwilliams.com/, or search her on myspace, you tube, and probably facebook. If you like Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Aimee Mann, or any other girl singer, you will love you some Dar, just the way I do.

Thanks to Dar (the writer, the author) for signing my copy of the YA book she published in 2006 via Scholastic - Lights, Camera, Amalee. Thanks for stopping into Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you for your songs. Sometimes they make me cry, cry, cry but usually they push me on to smile, appreciate sunrises and sunsets, and to think harder and longer about life and, yes, even love.


Tara Underwood said…
I haven't heard of Dar Williams, but I DO love Katie Herzig. "Fools Gold" is my favorite. I'll have to look up Dar.

On a side note, as a nurse, I must correct the IV drug you mentioned. It's IV Cipro. No one but a nerd like me would know that, but I figured you'd want to correct it because I think you're as anal about that stuff as me!!! Hahahaa.

Glad you enjoyed the show, I love live music! :)
Megan Strother said…
I saw your status on facebook when you were looking for a friend to go see Dar and I wanted to scream "pick me pick me!" Alas, I am too many miles away. I am glad to read the show was fantasgreat and that such a great set was played. I am also glad that your friend Tara corrected the IV Cipro. You sure have nerdy friends, I cant believe someone beat me to that correction!
Said corrections will be made and thanks for the notations, Tara! Megan, I wish you would have been in louisville to see Dar with me, and I wish I could have seen Wilco with you!

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