By Jill Diver
Singer-songwriter Dar Williams sure knows how to make the most of every minute of her day.
“I’m trying to figure out how to frost-proof my garden,” Williams says in a phone interview.
Background noise makes it difficult to hear her well.
“I’m grocery shopping,” she says. “It’s the only time I have to talk with people. And then I have to pick up my son.”
With 15 years of live performing and recording to her credit, the 43-year-old pop folk artist continues to sell albums, the latest being “Many Great Companions,” out this month.
Williams currently is touring in support of the release and comes to South Church in Portsmouth at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 5.
“I’ve been enjoying my shows for the album,” Williams says. “I found through ‘Many Great Companions’ who I really was.”
It was a great revelation, she says.
“My life has been defined by the company I’ve kept. I’m very lucky for that,” she says. “I planned to be a playwright and I imagined a solitary life. This has been the complete opposite.”
Born and raised in the New York suburbs in the 1970s, Williams says she grew up on classical, folk-rock and disco music, with parents who encouraged her songwriting and creativity.
Early in her music career, she opened for folk great Joan Baez, who would make Williams popular with a duet for the song “Ring Them Bells.” Since, Williams has performed at many festivals, as well as concerts, alongside the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, Ani DiFranco and Shawn Colvin.
For the new record, Williams recorded 12 acoustic tracks featuring special guest appearances by Chapin Carpenter, Larkin, Gary Louis of The Jayhawks (who also produced the album), and Sara and Sean Watkins (of Nickel Creek).
The double CD also includes a set of her definitive Greatest Hits, spanning the course of her entire career from 1993’s “The Honesty Room” through 2008’s “Promised Land.”
“My music is what you buy when you want a good way to introduce yourself to someone you know,” Williams said. “However, the 12 songs I rerecorded I think that will speak very clearly to certain people.”
Williams believes there are people who have heard some of the songs she rerecorded solo for so long, that they feel a certain relationship with the live recordings.
“I try to make it clear that this career and this life is really fun for me,” Williams said.
And her fans make her appreciate the music even more.
“I wouldn’t be who I was without them. I want them to know that,” said Williams. “I think they see me as a companion. I’ve been with them on their trips and they’ve been with me on mine.”
If You Go:
What: Dar Williams in concert.
When: Friday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m.
Where: South Church, 292 State St., Portsmouth, N.H.
How: All ages show. Tickets $39. Call 603-436-4762 or visit mktix.com.
This article was published on October 27, 2010 in the NH Lets Go.