NUVO Interview: Dar Williams 

It was a busy morning at the Dar Williams household when she picked up the phone to do an interview just prior to Labor Day weekend.

As Williams fielded questions about her fall tour and her new CD, Promised Land, she was also dealing with the needs of her 4-year-old son, Stephen, and a shifting schedule that had seen several phone interviews moved.

But if life as a mother/wife/musician means juggling the demands of home and family with those of promoting a tour and new CD, it seems clear that when it comes to the music itself, Williams continues to have things under control.

Promised Land, Williams’ seventh studio album, is yet another in an unbroken string of solid efforts that showcases her immediately appealing folk-pop sound and sharply drawn lyrics. A few songs have a stronger rock edge, including the brisk album-opening “It’s Alright” and “Go to the Woods.”

And while the rhythm tracks are a bit more assertive on other songs like “The Easy Way” and “Buzzer,” these tunes still strike an appealing balance between pop and folk as Williams showcases her familiar ability to craft graceful melodies. There are also quieter songs, such as “You Are Everyone” and “Holly Tree” that connect Promised Land directly back to Williams’ folkier roots.

“Actually, somebody said that they thought it sounded more like an older album of mine, and [that person] mentioned it as a compliment,” Williams said. “And I was thrilled because I know there are people who want that … But yeah, I didn’t think it sounded terribly different.”

What will sound different is Williams’ live sound on her first run of dates to promote Promised Land.

Having toured in both full band and solo formats, Williams is performing this fall with keyboardist Bryn Roberts and percussionist Everett Bradley.

“I’ve been hearing my friends playing with these incredible trios,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of power, but the focus can still be, there’s all the rhythm of a band, but there’s also a lyrical focus. So that does encompass sort of both ends of the spectrum of folk and rock.”

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