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the story of an invisible girl
I Am The Others
There are few things that will make me struggle 56 miles in the middlest middle of rush hour from my office to Ann Arbor. Dar Williams, however, is one of them.

Even so, I must say I was having some serious regrets after the first thirty minutes of stop-and-go traffic. I was inching along, riding on my brakes, debating whether it would be easier to cry, pound the steering wheel, or just turn around and go back to work. I don't especially like driving during good conditions, and these certainly weren't them. But I persevered, and eventually I found myself at the Ark. Neat place, lots of great music -- now if only it was nearer to home....

Anyway. I made it precisely sixty seconds before the doors were scheduled to open, and some lovely friends had saved me a place in line. I ended up a second-row seat and an excellent view. What a great show!

It surprised me a bit that "Dar" was one of the un-asked-about interests on my list. I don't know if it was too small to attract attention, or if it's just that everybody already knows and loves her. Just in case it's not the second, I will tell you about this lovely singer/songwriter. She does some beautiful songs, some funny ones, and some that just make you want to dance and sing. I'd also like to point out that she is the one and only person (other than me) currently quoted on my userinfo page.

"...and as long as she's got noise, she is fine....but I could teach her how I learned to dance when the music's ended." -Dar Williams

Lots of her lyrics hit me like that, in little one-line moments of clarity. That line, for example -- almost anybody can dance to music they can hear, but how do you keep dancing when you're in so empty and dark of a place that even the music is gone? I put that line on my profile because this is what I'm learning to do, trying to learn to do: keep moving, keep dancing.

Along with the lyrics, her music is also great. Some of it is fast and fun, and some of it is poignantly beautiful. The thing about music, of course, is that writing about it isn't really effective. It's like perfume. What's the point of visiting a perfume's web page, after all? Words don't really convey smell, nor do they really do much for music.

So, since I'm pumped up on post-Dar thrill, I thought I'd share that song with anybody who reads this. I've uploaded it here for you: As Cool As I Am. Download it, take a listen, and see if it brings you a smile! She has lots of other amazing songs; it was nearly impossible to pick just one to share. Mostly I selected this one because I've quoted it, so it's extra-relevant.

Another line from this song is, "And then I go outside to join the others / I am the others" It was really cool, because this was one of the last songs she did. Her whole band was on stage, plus the three (delightfully surprising in their harmony) singers from the opening act, Girlyman. When she got to that moment in the song, the music stopped for a moment and all eight or so people on the stage sang it in unison: I am the others! The audience sang it right along with them.

There was an instant where time froze, and I looked at the group on stage. Some older musicians, focused on their instruments, a new mom singing lead, an stunning keyboardist who couldn't stop smiling, the tomboy girl with the tribal drum, the awkward blond guy with face painted pale and lips a little too dark, the beautiful asian with chaotic hair, and briefly they all looked out at us through their souls. We were all The Others, and we were all together in the music.

Then I reconnected, and they all started harmonizing their way through the chorus. I stood up and clapped, relieved that I hadn't turned my car around earlier, that I'd made the nasty drive to briefly join the others for some music.

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bagira From: bagira Date: November 8th, 2005 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, this was marvelous fun. I only just got home about 12:10, and I am still hopping, can't quite sleep. On the way back to Dearborn, cannibal and I tried--unsuccessfully--to remember the words to the "stupid pothead!" song.

Did you think the drummer girl butch? I thought she was tomboy, certainly, but I also thought there was a lot of grace about her. I actually felt she was more feminine than the Asian girl.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 8th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, not precisely, but she was more-so than anyone else. "Still a tomboy" is probably a better description. In truth, I thought she was beautiful.

Oooh, great song -- let's see how much I can remember while typing!

in college i thought i was a radical
i ran a hemp-liberation something with my boyfriend
(then something about smoking too much to get anything done)

until i found him in the arms of a
Student Against The Trecherous Use Of Fur
he didn't pull up the sheets and i think he even smiled
"heh...i guess our dreams went up in smoke"

and i said, "Our dreams went up in dreams, you stupid pothead!"

And another thing, what kind of a name is
Students Against The Trecherous Use Of Fur?
fur is already dead, and besides a name like that
doesn't make a good acronym
elizilla From: elizilla Date: November 8th, 2005 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

I am older now
I still write to my senator saying we should legalize cannabis
and I should know
'cause I am a horticulturist
I have a husband and two children out in lexington mass
and my ex boyfriend can't tell me I've sold out
because he's in a cult
and he's not allowed to talk to me
cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 8th, 2005 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Drummer girl had a definite Tanya-like cuteness to her. When I told them about Uncle Bonsai's song, "I like girls", she said "we'd never sing that!" though, so she's sorta trying to be butch.
jebra From: jebra Date: November 8th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry I missed this. Who's idea was it to schedule Dar Williams for an evening when I have a rehearsal!?

Humph, I say!

cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 8th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I should've posted to SCOOT, I really wasn't expecting the concert to be this good, and I thought the price was way too high to justify for her past concerts were. They had a Sunday night show too, but we chose Mon because it worked better for Age.
fuzzyjelly From: fuzzyjelly Date: November 8th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
We went on Sunday night and it was fantastic! I wish we could have managed both nights.

Did you get to hear Girlyman do "Son of a Preacher Man?" That was awesome!

I will never miss Dar when she's in town. This I have promised myself.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 9th, 2005 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, they did it again! It was pretty great... so fun!
devnul From: devnul Date: November 8th, 2005 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am *so* jealous. My boss from '98-'00 was a Dar groupie, and was who originally turned me on to her. I sang through most of Mortal City on one of my recent long drives - there's nothing like a good, loud harmonization of "The Christians and the Pagans". :)

I'm a little familiar with Girlyman (I have two of their songs on the pod) and can only imagine the sound; you've certainly pictured the moment for me.

Did I mention I'm jealous?
cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 8th, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Definitely my favorite album, "Christians and the Pagans" was my first favorite.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 9th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Neat! The Christians and the Pagans is such a fun song. She's got a lot of songs that are great for singing along.

I'd never heard of Girlman before, but I was really impressed by them. I bought a CD, but haven't listened to it yet.
devnul From: devnul Date: November 9th, 2005 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
She does, and I need to learn more of them for belting out in the car.

I'm on track 5 of My Better Self and am enjoying it thoroughly while I finally unpack from my trip over a week ago. Oopsie.

I adore her earlier songs "When I Was A Boy" and "The Babysitter's Here". They really epitomize my entire notion of the folk song. The former might be my favorite overall; I love the music behind those lyrics.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 8th, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'm glad that you kept going and made it to the show. Were you one of the three women who bought my extra ticket? (For those of you who may be thinking scalper, no- only at the printed price)
Fantastic show, definitely better than the times I've seen her at large arenas (someone on another blog was complaining about the Ark being small and dumpy. I suppose they don't like being up close to their entertainers.), and Girlyman really blended well with Dar's music and style. I hope you enjoyed them as much as so many people who have never been exposed to their music before that night as well.
Have a gread day after :)
cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 8th, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, we got our tickets weeks ago.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 9th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: goukiman

Thanks! Nope, that wasn't me who bought your ticket. Wouldn't that have been weird, if it had been?

Small and dumpy?!?! Well sure it's small, but that's exactly what's so great about it! Those people don't know what they're talking about, they should just listen to their CDs and not bother going to live shows.

This was my third time seeing her, but it was the first time with a band. I think the band added a lot! Not to mention how much having Girlyman added. What a great night!
From: kivrin Date: November 8th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm always surprised at how many people know at least "Iowa." Yay Dar!Sounds like a terrific show!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 9th, 2005 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Iowa was her last encore, and it was AMAZING! I love that song.
zenmondo From: zenmondo Date: November 8th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wyoming Public Radio has been playing her cover of Comfortably Numb on the morning music show here and there. I really like it. The only other song of hers that I know is The Christians and the Pagans.
devnul From: devnul Date: November 9th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't know about that cover ... in fact, I didn't even realize she had a new album out in September. I am not worthy...

starts downloading from iTMS...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 9th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
You should definitely listen to more, it's totally worth it!
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: November 8th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)


I thought it meant Daughters of the American Republic.

I know what you mean about Detroit ruch hour traffic.

I was trying to get to Ann Arbor last Friday at 5PM.
cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 8th, 2005 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sweetie, did you ask Dar if it was okay for you to post the song? I'm sure she'd be cool with it, and you chopped it so it falls under fair use, but if it were me I'd chop it a bit more and mention that you can download the song at iTunes etc. Also note that you linked to a fan site, her website is http://darwilliams.com. Someone else on the fan site has the "Out there Live" version of "Cool As I Am", which admittedly isn't nearly as good as the original.

Ooh, they have a Team Dar thing if you want to promote her, and suggest giving away CD samplers, teamdar@razorandtie.com "Include your city and state in the subject line, in the body include your name, college(s) that are close by, email, phone number and mailing address." We should both do that, and Age really should. If you didn't ask Dar about the MP3, you could ask when you email them.

You should change your interests to say "Dar Williams" like me, rather than Dar. I haven't listened to my new CD yet, you?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 9th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
hmm, actually I didn't mean to chop it up! The upload must not have been totally successful...oops.

I didn't ask, but this is my online version of pulling a friend aside and saying, "you have to hear this!" It's just one song, and I won't leave it online long. This is just my way of convincing my friends that they should become fans too.

Thanks for the link correction; I wrote my post a little too quickly I guess. I could change my interests to her full name, but I LIKE pretending I'm on a first name basis with her! ;) She just is too friendly to use the full name.

I've been listening to my cd in the car, though I couldn't devote it my full attention. Haven't listened to the Girlyman cd yet though!
cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 9th, 2005 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, or maybe my download wasn't totally successful.

Yes, I think of her as just Dar, too, but she is not Cher, and Beeler's right, though he got the acronym wrong. The "dar" interest has 8 communities, BeastMaster, bantu, roseannne, Daughters Of The American Revolution, and only one that is actually a Dar community. "dar williams" on the other hand has lots more communities and people, all of which are actually interested in Dar.

I now have this vision of Dar doing a Bill Shatner impression, saying, "I am not Cher!"

I'm fearing that the girlyman CD will be disappointing.
abbagirl From: abbagirl Date: November 10th, 2005 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I found this post from one of your friends who posted about it at theothers (are you on there?); I was at both the Sun & Mon Dar shows, wrote about em on my lj as well! :)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 11th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi, and welcome! No I'm not on theothers, but clearly I should be. Thanks for the pointer!

I read your post about monday, and it was pretty funny! I think I was the first person to get CDs signed. The short ark-worker who made the size comment was my friend Age! I was right next to her! (but wearing tall heels, so I was wondering if I'd be as short as her without my shoes on) So I remember approximately the whole scene you described. (: (:
abbagirl From: abbagirl Date: November 11th, 2005 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee hee, awesome! Yeah, I remember that girl (Age); she had on a purplish Dar shirt right, the one that says "I think I put my shirt on backwards" or whatever?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: November 15th, 2005 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup, that was her. It's covered with Dar signatures and dates, from all the times she's seen her!
abbagirl From: abbagirl Date: November 19th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Does she ever wash it? :) I mean, wouldn't the signatures wear off a shirt?
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