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The Honesty Room

Dar Williams

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Album Review

This, Dar Williams' first full-length album, was originally released on her own private label and was then picked up by the tiny but prestigious indie folk label Waterbug Records. In its Razor & Tie incarnation, The Honesty Room is a bit more rocked-up, which, frankly, has generally proven to be a good thing for the music of Dar Williams. Although she is a lyricist of striking originality and endearing humor, and although she can craft a hooky tune with the best of them, there's still a certain preciousness that creeps in when she's not being careful — she has always sung with the light, fluttery consonants and flattened vowels that make so many of today's female singer/songwriters sound like 13-year-olds, and when that vocal approach combines with an unaccompanied acoustic guitar and lines like "Once upon a time there was a nuclear family," well, it's hard not to let your eyes roll. But on the other hand, when an all-out rock song combines a gorgeous singalong melody with lyrical references to Ronald Reagan and Sid Vicious in the very first line, you know you've stumbled across something very special, and you tend not to notice the quirks of delivery so much. And then there's "The Babysitter's Here," a song that manages to deal simultaneously with early childhood and incipient adulthood, and it will make you bawl every time you hear it.

Biography

Born: 19 April 1967 in Mount Kisco, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Dar Williams has become a major force on the New England folk scene. An idiosyncratic songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy and the quirky; her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but with a few acidic and at times hilarious twists. She was born in Mount Kisco, New York, but raised in Chappaqua, the daughter of medical writer/editor Gray Williams and Marian Ferry, an...
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