Dar Williams - In Concert
Return to MORTAL CITY
The 20th Anniversary Tour
Full Album Being Played in its Entirety...plus other favorites!
Co-produced by the Ten Pound Fiddle and the East Lansing Women in the Arts Festival.
In Dar's words, about Mortal City:
When The Honesty Room came out in 1994, I left my three part time jobs for one touring life, writing songs on notepads and napkins as I went. I have clear memories of places where I wrote lyrics. My housemate Sarah Davis had said, I think you should look at this story about an ice storm in Philadelphia. The whole city basically shut down, voluntarily, to help the hospitals keep running.
So I wrote half of the song, Mortal City, in Lisa Wittners bathtub in Boulder.
I wrote a verse of As Cool As I Am looking out my friend Jays window in San Francisco. And then I tried it out on a group of cool woman at the Kumbwa Cafe in Santa Cruz.
I started The Ocean in an undisclosed Washington city, surrounded by aspiring heroin addicts, while February began on the drive home from a friendly coffeehouse in eastern Massachusetts.
I wrote Iowawell, its pretty obvious where I wrote that.
Steve Miller, who had done such beautiful work at Wyndham Hill, produced the album. He had this crazy new thing called digital recording that you could do anywhere, and since I lived with one of my managers, Charlie Hunter, we tacked up blankets on the walls and turned a whole room into the sound booth.
The Nields sisters went in and harmonized with their sister shorthand:
Maybe Ill try
Yes. And Ill
Gideon Freudmann wandered into the blanket room and played the now familiar part in February as well as the trippy solo (as only Gideon could do), on the song about college potheads.
Steve brought players into New York City who were as generous of spirit as they were wildly talented. He introduced me to Steve Gaboury, Larry Campbell, Zev Katz, Billy Ward, Marc Schulman and his good friend, the late, great Jeff Golub. He also fired me on back-up vocals on The Christians and Pagans and asked Lucy Kaplansky to sing them instead!
He got Eileen Ivers to play the tempestuous part at the end of The Ocean and helped me invite John Prine to sing on it. I remember the first time I was on Mountain Stage in West Virginia, John poked his head into my dressing room and said, Ill sing on your song.
And then, when we released the album in 1996, Joan Baez let me come with her throughout the United States. I loved every minute of touring with Joan. She did everything she could to teach me the ropes while always noting how far Id already come. One night she had the band in her room after a show and the next morning I found my boots outside my room with the note, You need new shoes. Other than that, youre perfect. -Joan
A second album can be a daunting experience, but thanks to my managers Charlie and Carole, Razor and Tie, Steve Miller and Joan, it all felt like a magic carpet ride, and I cant thank everyone enough (I might have been too tired to thank them at the time).
And, given the title of the record, I also want to mention what Ive seen since I released Mortal City. In the nineties, most towns and cities were still reeling from the decline of manufacturing and the rise of shopping malls. I was working with coffeehouse volunteers, local radio stations, and promoters who were trying very hard, with limited resources, to bring music, poetry and life back into their downtowns. Thanks to people like them, not only have many places reclaimed their former glory, theyve improved on their histories, embracing their brick-walled, tree-lined Main Streets as theyve welcomed more worldliness and diversity in the present. In 1996 I said, We are not lost in the mortal city as a statement of faith, and now, twenty years later, I say it as a statement of fact.
Thank you for opening up your towns and cities to me over the last twenty years. Were very excited to be presenting the full album on tour this fall.
Edgewood United Church (View)
469 N Hagadorn
East Lansing, MI 48823
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|