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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...12/10/15

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 12/10/2015

“Music? Can I take a pass on that one? “Said a laughing Dar Williams as she gave her take on the state of the recording industry and the music makers of today; “It’s hard to make a living in music, it’s hard to make a statement today and it’s hard to take the risks like I could years ago.”

A native of New York State, Williams was encouraged by her parents at a young age to write songs and at the age of nine began playing guitar; penning her first material by age 11. Dar, which is short for Dorothy, took an interest in theater and drama as she grew older; pushing her songwriting to the proverbial "Back burner" where it simmered on low until she began taking vocal lessons from Jeannie Deva.

Living in the Boston, MA area at the time, Deva pushed Williams to perform and share her material; first starting small in coffee houses and then urging her to continue upward. A cliquish folk scene and an at times crippling case of stage fright temporarily detoured Williams but in 1990 she recorded, "I Have No History," her first effort which was produced by Deva and engineered by Rob Lehmann.

Buoyed by now blooming success and averaging nearly a recording per year; good fortune would find Williams, coming in the form of penultimate singer/songwriter Joan Baez. After building her fan base through those very coffee houses, the internet and public radio; Williams recorded her first full length album entitled, "The Honesty Room."  The success of the recording led Dar to sign a deal with Razor & Tie, a large record distribution and licensing company with whom she would remain for many years. "Joan Baez was great, I owe much to her," said Williams in appreciative tones. "Joan and I were both on the Razor & Tie label; her manager also managed 38 Special, so I really fell into some lucky circumstances. Joan was looking to make her "Duets" record with a person from our label that was unknown and super green and that person was me! Her agent let her hear my music, she gave it the green light and I went on the road opening for her; she took that chance on me for a year and a half."

Fast forward to today; Williams is currently on the road in support of her latest release "Emerald," a disc that brought her together with many "Old friends" and one that she says is, "A little adventurous." "When I write I need space and time to wander," she said as she laughed. "I like to see things at different angles, so I go to museums, creative places; I like to get caught off guard. I was fortunate, I grew as an artist with a label behind me; that doesn't exist today. The Eco-system of music is not there any longer; music isn't brought into the schools and the musical communities are pretty much gone. This new album sort of pulled everything together, life and me have been all over the map and then something seems to happen to pull it all together, you know; that light shines through beautiful moment? So I thought that "Emerald" was a perfect title, like when you hold that gem up to the light and the rays shine through and cast such beauty and for me, so much was revealed and so much light shed on many things; it fit perfectly. This album is about bringing my life and old friends back together; I missed my friends so I brought them back. Years ago, gosh, things were just different and now even with technology being as it is; it still doesn't replace human contact and interaction."

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"Emerald" was recorded in Nashville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Beacon, NY and Weehawken, NJ; enlisting the help of past connections and logging many miles of travel. "I wanted to work with some of my past friends and collaborators, so I made some phone calls and reconnected through friends of friends and found the right combination of people. Richard Thompson actually asked me to be part of it which just blew me away; he's so talented. Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman; I've worked with and known those guys for years and everyone knows how successful The Hooters were as a band and still are. Jim Lauderdale and Suzzy and Lucy Wainwright Roche also contributed; I was truly blessed to have them all. The fun part was that I went to them; do you know how hard it is to get that many plane tickets and travel arrangements coordinated? I was in L.A. with family so I snuck away and did part there, was in Nashville and did the same and then just did the rest around their schedules and it worked out great! It was much easier for me to go to them than to get them to all come to me."

 Williams has been described by "The New Yorker" as "One of America's very best singer-songwriters" and has garnered multiple award nominations over her 20 plus years of touring and recording and with the release of "Emerald" things have come full circle as she has returned to releasing music on her own after parting ways with "Razor & Tie."

The South Orange PAC will play host to Dar Williams on December 17 at 7:30 p.m. as she continues her tour of the east coast. Tickets range from $30 to $45 and her opening act is longtime friend Lucy Wainwright Roche. "I'll be there on guitar with a keyboard player accompanying me and I am absolutely thrilled to have Lucy opening for me! I'm going to make her come on stage with me; she doesn't know it yet and she'll probably fight me on it but she will join me (laughs)!"

To discover more about Dar Williams, please visit  The SO PAC is located at 1 SOPAC Way  and directions can be obtained here at

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
Alchemist & Barrister
28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555
Thurs. 9 p.m. "Thursday Jazz" feat. Jim Popik 3
Sun. 9 p.m. Pat Foran
Wed. 9 p.m. Paul Plumeri Band
All shows 21+
Amalfi's Restaurant
146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Rd. Lawrenceville
(609) 912-1599
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Jon Savage & The Classic Rockers
Sat. 8:30 p.m. Papa Delux & MSG
Amarones Windsor Inn
29 Church St. Windsor
(609) 448-7144
 Fri. 8 p.m. Rick & Kenny
Sat. 8 p.m. Rocking Rhythm
Blend Bar & Bistro
911 Highway 33, Hamilton
(609) 245-8887
 Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam 
The Backstage at Championship Bar 
931 Chambers St. Trenton
Fri. 7 p.m. Dreams Of Demise, Scarlet Fire, Losing Your Grip, (TBA). All ages, $10
Sat. 5 p.m. Kylan Hillman, Gravity Well, I Am A Dragon, StarGazer, (TBA). All ages, $10
Candlelight Lounge 
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612
 Sat. 3 p.m. Vince Ector Drum Quartet (No cover-$10 minimum)
Chickie's & Pete's
183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-9182
Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs
Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night
Dog & Bull Brew House
810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA.
(215) 788-2855
Thurs. 8 p.m. Gypsy Mother
Fri. (4 p.m.) "Happy Hour Jam" feat. Visoon (9 p.m.) Heather Heather
Sat. (11 a.m.) "Saturday Brunch Jam" feat. Michael Leggerie (9 p.m.) Visoon
Sun. (11 a.m.) "Sunday Brunch" feat. Keli Vale   (3 p.m.) Mia Johnson
Mon. 8 p.m. Dick Gratton
Wed. 8 p.m. Dick Gratton
Fran's Pub
116 S. Main St. New Hope, PA.
Mon. 8 p.m. Open Blues Jam
All shows 21+  
Havana New Hope
105 S. Main Street. New Hope, Pa. 
(215) 862-9897
Thurs. 10 p.m."Beat The Clock" College Night DJ Dance Party
Fri. 8:30 p.m. Bigg Romeo
Sat. 8:30 p.m. "Modern Country's BEST Country Cover Band" Shot Of Southern
Sun. 4 p.m. Rocky and His Friends
Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Wed. 8 p.m. Pat Foran & Friends
Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Avenue Pennington
(609) 737-4465
Thurs. 6 p.m. "Thurs. Jazz" feat. Vince De Mura
Fri. 6 p.m. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz Ensemble
Sat. 6 p.m. The Lifters
Sun. 2 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Al Oliver
Ivy Tavern 
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Fri. 10 p.m. Kindred Spirit
Sat. 10 p.m. Tangled w/ "Special Guest" Mark Giovi
All shows 21+
John & Peter's 
96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981
Thurs. 9 p.m. Brother Eye
Fri. 9 p.m. Black Market Opera
Sat. (3 p.m.) The Trip Dogs (9 p.m.) The Fermenters
Sun. (3 p.m.) Christine Havrilla (9 p.m.) Justin Pope
Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Wed. 9:30 p.m. The Invitational
All shows 21+
JoJo's Tavern
2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton
(609) 586-2678
Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke
Sat. 10 p.m. Radio Fiction
McStews Irish Sports Pub
5316 New Falls Rd Levittown, PA
(215) 949-9570
Fri. 10 p.m. Knock One back
Wed. 10 p.m. "Saturday Night Party" w/ Dueling DJs
Millhill Basement
300 S. Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-1600
Check web site for upcoming events
Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979
Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke
All shows 21+ 
Patriot's Crossing
1339 River Rd. Titusville
(609) 737-2780
Fri. 7 p.m. Steve Bross
Sat. 8 p.m. TJ Nix Musical Variety Show
Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008
Fri. 9:30 p.m. Blind Lemmon Pie
Randy Now's Man Cave
134 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 424-3766
Please check web site for upcoming events
RHO Waterfront
50 Riverview Plaza Trenton
(609) 393-7300
Thurs. 9 p.m. "College Night" DJ Bob E Luv. $15 ($5 w/ college ID)

Tavern On The Lake
101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345
Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night 
The HOB Tavern
146 Second Street
(609) 291-7020
 Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke
Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night
The Ivy Inn
248 Nassau St. Princeton
(609) 921-8555
Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Ron
Fri. 10 p.m. Seth Tieger Band
Sat. 10 p.m. El Ka Bong
Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv
Wed. 10 p.m. "Wednesday Wheel Night Spin To Win Karaoke" w/ DJ Rockn Ron
The Record Collector
358 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown
(609) 324-0880
Sat. 8 p.m. Richard X. Heyman & the Owls. All ages, doors at 7 p.m., $12 (advance). 
The Roost 
181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
(609) 208-0050
Fri. 9 p.m. Gunsmoke
Sat. 9 p.m. ArHouse
The Sticky Wicket 
2465 South Broad St. Hamilton
(609) 439-0007
Fri. 9 p.m. Out Of The Red
Sat. 9 p.m. Deep Release
The Sun National Bank Center 
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200
Check website for upcoming events
Tir Na Nog 
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554
Fri. 9 p.m. Mass Folk Commons
Sat. 9 p.m. Ziggy Isaacs
Wed. 9 p.m. Paul Wiese
All shows  21+
Trenton Buzz
702 Pine St. Trenton
(609) 392-6000
 Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic. w/ Hek Cat
Trenton Social
449 South Broad Street Trenton
(609) 989-7777
Fri. 7 p.m. First Friday
Mon. 9 p.m. Monday Night Karaoke w/ Benny P
Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic. Night
Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300
Fri. 10 p.m. The Rooks. ($5 cover charge)
Sat. 10 p.m. Matt Romagna w/ Nalani & Sarina. ($5 cover charge)
Sun. (3 p.m.) "School Of Rock" Princeton (7 p.m.) Open Jam Night (Sign-ups at 6:30 p.m.)
Tues. 9 p.m. Live Band Karaoke
All shows 21+
Wildflowers Inn
2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington
Sat. 9 p.m. Acoustic Rock 
All shows 21+

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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