Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘After All‘ – Dar Williams (2000)
Eleven years ago, when I first wrote about this song on the blog, I couldn’t find it on YouTube so I had to upload my own version. That clip has received more than 125k views since. Not exactly ‘Gangnam Style,’ but pretty impressive for a rather obscure artist like Dar Williams.
On that clip, and on the other videos that eventually made it to YouTube, you’ll find many comments by listeners that this song quite literally saved their lives. I can only imagine how heartening that must be for Williams.
Just yesterday I was discussing the tough road female artists have had in Round One of Montauk Madness, thanks to the luck of the draw in the matchups. Here’s another example, where two very talented women have to face off against each other (the first such battle, unless you count Lucinda Williams taking on the Shirley Manson-led Garbage).
Dar Williams is a relatively obscure artist who has quietly released almost a dozen albums of literate folk pop. She is a master lyricist and knows her way around a melody, and she’s responsible for one of my very favorite songs, ‘When I Was a Boy.’
If somebody asked me to recommend a musical artist they’d never heard of, my first answer would be Tift Merritt. She’s the best.
This assumes, by the way, that people have heard of Ben Folds and Belle & Sebastian.
My second answer might be Josh Rouse or Ron Sexsmith. Or it could well be Dar Williams, the writer and singer of today’s random iTunes selection. She’d be in the top five, no question.
Enjoy ‘The Blessings,’ another great songs from Dar Williams’ greatest album, 1996’s Mortal City.
That record falls into the rare genre of albums that are close to perfect but for one glaring, horrible misstep. In this case, it’s the title track, a 7-plus minute half-spoken, half-sung short story about a couple that meets during a power failure.
My third most-read SOTD blog entry is Dar Williams’ ‘When I Was a Boy,’ my 83rd Song of the Day post.
This one owes most of its 1,089 page views to YouTube. I uploaded a copy of the song, along with a link back to my blog, when I couldn’t find it on the site. So fans of Dar Williams, or at least of this song, have stumbled upon my post after finding that video.