Sunday 13 June 2010

"Southern California Wants To Be Western New York" by Dar Williams


  1. This has always been one of my favorite Dar Williams songs! Such clever, poignant lyrics. Hardly anybody ever mentions this track anymore, probably because it's among her earliest. I first heard her perform it live in February of 1994, at a coffeehouse in the basement of a church in Providence, Rhode Island, back before anyone even knew Dar's name. I still have my autographed copy of The Honesty Room that I purchased from her that night.

  2. That's great! Yes, there are a handful of Dar songs that I really love: her observations can be so fresh and original. "As Cool As I Am," "Iowa," "The Babysitter's Here," "When I Was A Boy" and "If I Wrote You" are among my other favourites.

  3. I love all of those songs by Dar as well, Alex, and I'd add the following eight to my list:

    "Are You Out There?"
    "What Do You Hear in These Sounds?"
    "Playing to the Firmament"
    "Spring Street"
    "Calling the Moon"
    "Mercy of the Fallen"
    "I Saw a Bird Fly Away"

    But my very favorite songs of Dar's are the two times that she's experimented in a full-on pop mode: "Closer to Me" and "Echoes." I like the strange tension created by placing a folk singer in a pop context, similar to what happened with Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car." Aside from its brilliant lyrics, impassioned delivery, and euphoric chorus, I think that's part of what makes Chapman's song such an enduring classic.

  4. I still need to hear several of these! Two I forgot about were "End of the Summer" and "Teen For God." I was also quite taken with "Holly Tree" from the last record, which I reviewed for Wears The Trousers.

  5. I'll be sure to check out your review of Dar's Promised Land, Alex...and I need to listen to that disc more myself! I think I've played it only once or twice since it was released.