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‘Self-acceptance’: Singer-songwriter Dar Williams finds a ‘helpful voice’ within

Dar Williams is planning to release an album and publish a book this year. (Courtesy of Tom Moore)

Dar Williams is a master at juggling multiple tasks.

The singer-songwriter balances her tour, writing and being a mother with the greatest of ease.

The secret to her success is she takes her time.

“As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I’m a slow writer,” she says in an interview. “I never realized it before. I take my time to explain a narrative. It’s just the way it works.”

Williams followed her dream of being a musician, and by the mid-1990s, she was part of the singer-songwriter boom.

Her first album, “The Honesty Room,” was released in 1993 and rereleased by her label in 1995.

Since then, she has released 17 albums and EPs – and she’s not stopping.

“I have an album that we’re going to put out in late spring,” she says. “I’m writing another book.”

Williams’ tour will stop in Santa Fe on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at James A. Little Theater.

Williams says 2019 set her up for 2020.

“You sort of reach a level of self-acceptance,” she says. “This is where I realized that my process is slow, like really, really slow.”

With that knowledge, Williams is more free when it comes to writing. She’s also used writing as an outlet.

“My last album came out in 2015 and I wrote a book, ‘What I Found in a Thousand Towns,’ in September 2017,” she says. “The book involved interviews and three reedits. I’m glad I did it. It took me a while to get it completed, and songwriting took a back seat.”

Williams also hosts a songwriting conference and has learned from others about the process.

“The thing that is interesting is you take all this information of how people write songs and you try to give it a format,” she says. “I take a step back and try to shift the narrator’s perspective and look at the big pictures of what I’m writing about. So far, it’s a helpful voice. It’s about the song and where it wants to go.”

Writing for the new album, Williams has found more confidence.

“I know I’m going to finish the songs now,” she says. “Back then, there was always a person hanging on the edge saying I wouldn’t write another song. The wheel always turns. This entire realization has completed me. I feel whole and ready to take on more.”

It’s been a few years since Williams performed in New Mexico. With her extensive music catalog, she puts together her set lists carefully.

“Songs mean different things at different times,” she says. “Every song is different and takes on new meaning as time passes. There are songs that feel different to me from years ago. Some have taken on more power; others have become dated. I sift through the songs to tell a complete story for the night.”

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