Get this crazy baby off my head!


Dar Williams

Dar Williams - The Beauty Of The Rain - 2003 - Razor & Tie

Where Mortal City was a consciously reformatted Honesty Room, End of the Summer was an over-the-top break away from Mortal City, and The Green World was an admission that End of the Summer was a forced endeavor, The Beauty of the Rain is Dar Williams' first recording that truly expands upon the sound of the album before it. For the first time in her career, Williams no longer pushed too hard to readjust her sound, but instead embraced and built upon it. The result is her most comfortable and confident recording to date and the first time Williams did not appear to be ashamed of her previous work. Complete with a heavy roster including John Medeski, Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, and John Popper, The Beauty of the Rain is a polished and spacious-sounding recording where virtually every track is an easy parade through flourishing arrangements and accessibility. The only song to stand out as a bit off the mark is the initially stunning "Whispering Pines," which shifts from a lovely, lush backing vocal and keyboard opening to a new age-tinted piano ballad, but when the third verse sets in, guest Cliff Eberhardt's soulless and strained singing turns it into a poor Disney-style "end-of-picture" duet and the whole song crashes down in a train wreck of poor judgment. Album-opener and extraordinary single "Mercy of the Fallen," the staccato intricacies of "Closer to Me," and the understated title track more than make up for this blunder and will certainly please passionate fans as well as increase Dar Williams' fan base considerably. © Gregory McIntosh © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-beauty-of-the-rain-r627060/review

With each release, this East Coast singer-songwriter moves farther from the strictures of folk into the musical mainstream. While Dar Williams's artistic trademarks--lyrical introspection, melodic warmth, an occasional tendency toward breathy vocal preciousness--remain much in evidence on this collection, produced by Stewart Lerman and Rob Hyman, the expanded musical support adds more rhythmic propulsion and layers of harmonies to the mix. Among the highlights are "I Saw a Bird Fly Away," featuring the harmonica chirp and background vocals of Blues Traveler's John Popper and the keyboard of John Medeski, and a hymnlike transformation of the Band's "Whispering Pines," with vocal counterpoint from Cliff Eberhardt and harmonies from Alison Krauss. Other musicians making key contributions include banjoist Béla Fleck, trumpeter Chris Botti, bassist Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band), and fiddler Mike Kang (String Cheese Incident). Titles such as "Farewell to the Old Me" and "I Have Lost My Dreams" reinforce the spirit of transformation, though one of the strongest cuts here, "Mercy of the Fallen," sticks closest to folk convention. © Don McLeese © 1996-2011, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000894RG/pageturners0c

Great folk/pop rock album from Dar. Often melancholic, sad, and emotional, this is an album from the heart with beautiful melodies and intelligent lyrics from this underrated artist. "Beauty Of The Rain" (Title track) was explained by Dar when she wrote, "I love New York City, because when I eavesdrop on people, they're often in the middle of some important discussion. Adversity is a given, but conversation renders poetry from it, hence “the beauty of the rain is how it falls." Mark Saleski at Allaboutjazz wrote that, "It’s not often that I would pick a recording several slots into an artist’s career as recommendation for the uninitiated … but that rule goes away here. the beauty of the rain is a great place to start. Work your way backwards. It’ll be fun". Buy Dar's "End of the Summer" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 89.9 Mb] N.B: This one's for you, Mike, and thanks for introducing the lady to me!


1 Mercy Of The Fallen
2 Farewell To the Old Me
3 I Saw a Bird Fly Away
4 Beauty Of The Rain
5 World's Not Falling Apart
6 One Who Knows
7 Closer to Me
8 Fishing In the Morning
9 Whispering Pines
10 Your Fire Your Soul
11 I Have Lost My Dreams

All songs composed by Dar Williams except "Closer to Me" by Dar Williams & Rob Hyman, and "Whispering Pines" by Richard Manuel & Robbie Robertson


Dar Williams (vocals, guitar)
Steuart Smith (guitar, 12-string guitar, E-bow, harmonica, piano)
Stewart Lerman (bass, guitar, keyboards)
Eric Bazilian (guitar, mandolin)
Steffan Lessard, William Wittman, Stewart Lerman, Paul Sokolow (bass)
Béla Fleck (banjo)
Rob Hyman (Hammond B-3 organ, melodica, piano, reed organ, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards)
John Medeski (Hammond B-3 organ, piano, Clavinet)
Steve Holley, Sammy Merendino (drums)
Carol Steele (percussion)
Chris Botti (trumpet)
David Mansfield, Michael Kang (violin)
John Popper (vocals, harmonica)
Alison Krauss (vocals, fiddle)
Cliff Eberhardt (vocals)


Dar Williams has become a major force on the New England folk scene. An idiosyncratic songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy and the quirky; her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but with a few acidic and at times hilarious twists. She was born in Mount Kisco, NY, but raised in Chappaqua, the daughter of medical writer/editor Gray Williams and Marian Ferry, an active figure in Planned Parenthood. Her parents were educated at Yale and Vassar, respectively. Raised in a decidedly liberal arts atmosphere, Williams began studying guitar at age nine and wrote her first song at 11. In high school she was interested in athletics, but an ankle injury led her to audition for the musical Godspell. She became active in drama, and by her senior year, after composing more music and writing plays, considered herself a playwright. She blames an "existential crisis" at age 16 for her creativity and sharp sense of humor. During her sophomore year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Williams spent a few months in Berkeley, CA, where she wrote songs and performed at the Starry Plough. After earning a B.A., she moved to Boston in 1990 to find a career in the arts, dabbling in everything from directing plays and operas to performing. By the year's end she was stage manager for the Opera Company of Boston. She also began taking voice lessons and it was her teacher, Jeannie Diva, who encouraged Williams to try the coffeehouse circuit. Williams tried hard, especially between late 1992 and early 1993, but things didn't pan out, so she abandoned Boston for the relaxed folksy, artsy atmosphere of Northampton, MA, home of many prominent universities. Williams claims to draw much inspiration from her home community. Her love of the folk scene stems from her admiration of its integrity toward honesty and real emotion, and a creative freedom not found in more popular music genres. She loves trying to use traditional methods to express the realities and foibles of contemporary life. After several self-released cassettes, Williams made her proper debut in 1993 with the independent Honesty Room to considerable critical acclaim for both her beautiful soprano voice and her lovely, intriguing songs. The following year she signed to Razor & Tie Records, which reissued the album. Her second album, Mortal City (1995), was similarly praised, and was followed by 1997's End of the Summer. Williams performs on the college and coffeehouse circuit and has also won rave reviews for her festival appearances, including the Newport Folk Festival and the Mississippi River Music Fest, St. Louis. She issued Cry Cry Cry as part of the folk trio of the same name in 1998, and her own The Green World followed two years later. Over the next few years, Williams remained a major presence on the concert trail; she also recorded songs during a two-year trek across America and Europe. She hooked up with Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, Dave Matthews Band's Stefan Lessard, trumpet player Chris Botti, and others for the impressive The Beauty of the Rain, which appeared in February 2003. My Better Self, Williams' most personal set of her career yet, arrived two years later, followed by Promised Land in 2008. In 2010, Williams released the career-spanning two-disc set Many Great Companions, which features one compilation disc of fan favorites and another disc of newly recorded songs from her catalog performed in an acoustic format. © Sandra Brennan © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/dar-williams-p42659/biography