Pop-folk singer-songwriter Dar Williams has a new release, and I’m positively giddy about it. Promised Land features her trademark thoughtful and candid observations of life but with a little harder musical edge than her previous releases.
You won’t find any screeching metal solos or the like, but she used Grammy nominee Brad Wood as her producer (Liz Phair, Sarah Bettens) so it’s going to be different than her previous effort, Honesty Room.
It’s not that Williams moved directly from earthy folk goddess to rocker queen — in fact, she’s never been the latter — but there’s been a gradual movement away from a simple girl-with-guitar style.
Wandering around art museums helped fuel some songs, as did the Milgram social psychology experiments in which people were asked to administer electric shocks to others. Williams got to thinking about why someone would conform to an experiment like that and wrote “Buzzer.”
The new album also includes a great cover of “Midnight Radio” from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s a ballad that fits in well with her originals because it sounds like something she’d write. Also featured on the album are Suzanne Vega and Marshall Crenshaw.
Are you a Dar fan? Do you plan to buy the new album?