Dar Williams w. Special Guest The Nields
33 West St.
Annapolis, MD, 21401
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
Dar Williams has been called “one of America’s very best singer-songwriters” by The New Yorker. She’s released ten studio albums and authored four books including her latest, “What I Found In A Thousand Towns,” to be released in September.
Known as much for her staunch progressive ideals as her raw acoustic energy, Williams has been captivating audiences with her sheer elegance and honesty in her folk-pop songwriting since the '90s. Williams’ growth as an individual over her two-decade-long career has gone hand-in-hand with her evolution as an artist, touring along the way with such distinguished peers as Joan Baez, Patty Griffin, Ani DiFranco, Loudon Wainwright III and Shawn Colvin among others.
Dar's most recent album, Emerald, “deals as bluntly as ever with the shadowy, subtle corners of humanity” according to Rolling Stone, and was recorded with friends such as Richard Thompson, Jill Sobule, Jim Lauderdale, the Milk Carton Kids, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Suzzy Roche, the Hooters and others in various studios across the U.S. It is a sparkling collection of new original material, inspired collaborations and some surprising covers such as B.A.D.’s “Johnny Appleseed” making this album one of her best yet.
"Dar Williams, one of America's very best singer-songwriters… Her songs are beautiful. Some are like finely crafted short stories. They are, variously, devastatingly moving, tenderly funny, subtle without being in any way inaccessible, and utterly fresh—not a cliché or a clunker in her entire songbook." -The New Yorker
XVII, the Nields’ seventeenth album, is both their most personal and their most community-minded. Well into their third decade as a musical partners and—judging by this sublime album––at the very top of their game, the Nields turn to meditations on time, and turning points, their roots and community – both musical and personal – but they also express joy in the present, faith in the future, and a whole lot of hope and promise. The Nields’ albums are often an eclectic mix of ideas and music styles, but clear themes emerge. Love and China (2002) was about the fragility of love and relationships. The Full Catastrophe (2012) explored the messy experience of raising a family. XVII has the Nields looking out from midlife, focusing on themes of time, love and community.The primary inspiration behind XVII was Nerissa and Katryna’s hero, Pete Seeger, who died in January of 2014. His love of sharing music and his passion for justice had been a part of their lives since before they were born (their parents fell in love at a Pete Seeger concert). His death affected them profoundly. Pete is clearly on the album in songs like “Joe Hill” and “Wasn’t That a Time,” but the entire album is infused with his spirit. It’s there in the Nields’ delight in sharing music and in using it to build a community. And it’s there in the title XVII: when compared to a career and life like that of Pete Seeger, they’re not even out of their teens.
The songs on XVII are about the lessons we hope to learn by midlife: accepting the passage of time and the choices we’ve made, and being thankful for the moments of grace. They are about knowing where we’re supposed to be, and recognizing that there are many things we may never understand. They’re about having faith in something bigger, be it God, humanity, love, or all of the above.
Although many of the songs on XVII have the Nields looking back at their lives and their career, it’s also an album about enjoying the moment: “What a world we get to live in when there are wonders such as this” (“Normandies”), looking ahead to what’s next: “I know the only way is forward; I don’t mind what might have been” (“Treasure”), and embracing in the people around you: “Someone needs to ask for help tonight, and someone wants to lend a hand. We’re all of us, on the bus, sharing our way to trust, we all just walk each other home” (“Dave Hayes”).
Written by Nerissa, but with significant contributions from Katryna, the songs show a confident songwriter trusting her voice, willing to take leaps, and able to write songs that are deeply personal. “Nerissa wrote my favorite songs she’s ever written and they were more fun to sing than anything I’ve ever gotten to sing.” The songs give Katryna room to stretch her voice, from intimate whispers to full throated soaring. The sisters’ vocal interplay and intricate harmonies—the duo’s hallmark—are as thrilling as ever.
“I feel like when Pete died,” Katryna recalls “all musicians thought ‘How do I carry on this tradition that he gave us and how do we nurture that.’ The greatest thing you get to do as a musician is create a community; that’s the gift that Pete Seeger gave us more than anything else. It’s our job to just keep singing and to keep encouraging others to keep singing, too.”