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DAR WILLIAMS IT’S AN ALL REQUEST AUTUMN With special guest Wheelzie (FKA Amelia Chalfant)

  • IT'S AN ALL REQUEST AUTUMN! REQUEST THE A SIDE, THE B SIDE, THE BIG HITS AND THE DEEP TRACKS. Recognized as an author, educator and urban-planning expert, Williams is also penning a new book, Writing a Song That Matters, based on her popular songwriting retreats. When Dar Williams starts discussing her latest album, I’ll Meet You Here, she’s not yet sure she can identify its through line; a thread that might connect its 10 songs together. But as she delves into the collection, releasing Oct. 1 on BMG’s recently launched Renew label, she mentions her attempt to turn her yard into a meadow. Unfortunately, the wildflower seeds she scattered on the grass around her home, in New York’s Hudson Valley, didn’t take. Now she just has an unruly lawn. “It kind of has a crazy-lady look,” Williams says, laughing. “I’m on a corner in a village, so everybody sees it. I do all this remedial stuff; it’s not really working. But I know why I did it, and I know what I was going for. Generally, people are saying ‘I see what you’re trying to do.’ And I’m sure some people are shaking their heads. And I’m OK either way.” “At some point,” she adds, “you have to meet life where it meets you … I think what the songs all have in common is the willingness to meet life as it arrives.” We might even simplify it as “acceptance,” that concept Buddhists and behavioral therapists try so hard to teach. But that’s far from passivity; on the contrary (and unlike her lawn), Williams’ lyrics contain bouquets of optimism, delivered on melodies alternating between beguiling lightness and understated gravity.