Dar Williams isn't exactly a household name ... yet. All that might be about to change, as she's recently tapped Grammy nominated producer Brad Wood (think Liz Phair, Pete Yorn, and Ben Lee) and Greg Leisz (who's played with Wilco and Robert Plant) to help write her latest album, Promised Land. The results are stunning. Williams' original songs are stripped down to raw emotion, sans filler, and her remake of "Midnight Radio" from the 2001 film Hedwig and the Angry Inch sends chills down even the most hardened listener's spine.
She's also eschewed the typical religious and political themes of her earlier work to tell more personal (and widely varied) tales of aging, as well as continuing to explore her interest in sociological experiments. Dar is a storyteller first and foremost, and she has a knack for boiling down stories to three-minute songs that stick with listeners for hours, and for giving cover songs a whole new meaning. Just listen to her version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" and it'll all come together for you.
Dar Williams, with Joshua Radin and Jesse Harris. Tuesday, February
3. Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale. Show starts at 8
p.m.; tickets cost $19.99 in advance. All ages. 954-564-1074; www.cultureroom.net.
-- Brett Gillin