Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Today pop folk singer Dar Williams releases her eighth studio album, Many Great Companions. It's a two disc set, with Disc 1 being an acoustic collection of her classes updated with help from folk friends Sean and Sara Watkins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, Motherlode and Gary Louris of the Jayahawks. Disc 2, Best of Dar Williams, revisits the musical journal of Dar's career.
In celebration of this release, we've got two copies to giveaway.
How to win one? Just email us at email@example.com by Sunday, October 17th at 11:59 EST with "I want Dar's album!" in the subject and your name in the body. The winners will be chosen and notified on Monday!
As a long time fan of Dar, I jumped at the chance to take a listen to Many Great Companions. I was surprised to hear such a full-grown and husky voice on all the tracks, making the originals recorded many years sound as if they were sung by a teenager. This aged difference is especially noticeable on the revamp of "The Babysitter's Here." Although Dar's childish spark isn't quite gone - she still wonderfully portrays her younger self - her tone sounds more of a mother reminiscing softly to herself than a young 20-something sharing a mostly cute story, which brings the song to an even more melancholy and nostalgic level.
This downtempo of her work is apparent through the album, transforming beloved works into something new, something to be truly revisited. "Iowa" is laden with beautiful new harmonies from Carpenter, Motherlode and the Watkins', adding depth and a relaxed richness. Due to the acoustic nature of the album, the quick kick drums are absent on "Christians and the Pagans" and the track slows a bit with a new incorporation of a sleepy violin, but the additional homespun poppy vocals of Sean and Sara Watkins succeed in lifting this famous song back to the energy level fans are familiar with.
Many Great Companions is a fantastic retrospective glance into the maturing Dar Williams, who has captured the amusing adventures of her youth, pains of college and lessons in life and love throughout her career. The album, with Dar's aged vocals, brings sense of wisdom to these tracks the likes of which had not been heard prior. This is must for any Dar fan.
CONCERT: Also, if you're in the NYC area, Dar Williams will also be playing City Winery Oct 15 and 16!