<-- Prev || Next -->
Female Producers:
Speculations and Reflections

Dar Williams

She co-produced her first album at least. While her later albums have a more dignified sound, her Honesty Room record contain songs that are marked by their wryness (Alleluia), beautiful storytelling (You're Aging Well), intended bizarre bridge ("Mark Rothko Song"), and funky folkness (Traveling Again). So not every song is memorable, but it was a decent debut that spoke with feeling. Her next album. Mortal City, has no trace of her in the producer's seat and opens with the overdone "As Cool as I Am". Maybe Paula Cole spells it "didjeridoo", but Dar Williams' liner notes spells the instrument "didgeridoo". I am not familiar with this instrument, but I think that this may be the problem. I guess it did well on AAA radio, though, so what am I complaining about? "Southern California Wants to Be Western New York" is a perfectly great song on Mortal City. It's not overdone, it's sparse, but not missing anything. Was Dar wise to hand things over to Steven Miller, that particular producer?

Then comes End of Summer, again produced by Steven Miller. "Are You Out There?" was a great opener, having the feeling of urgency of say maybe a song that REM might have. Party Generation comes off feeling too wild though. "What Do You Hear in These Sounds?" is pretty good, but it comes off feeling too programmed. So she got rid of Steven Miller for reasons unknown, but suspected by me and used Stewart Lerman for her current album, The Green World. Hey, Steven Miller wasn't that bad all of a sudden. The Green World wasn't a bad record. However, it focused on Dar's breathy vocals, and not one cut is bad, vocally. How expressive each track is! But the instrumentation suffers. "I Won't Be Your Yoko Ono." OK, I'm not sure how much better that song could have been with another producer. But it didn't have to sound so .... ***** Every song doesn't need to be analyzed. The Green World wasn't sterile, but it wasn't alive. It wasn't unique. Vocally I think everything was real nice. We haven't had Dar at the producer's helm since The Honesty Room. I think it would be nice to have her back, maybe co-producing with Steven Miller, so they could balance each other.

Dar Williams