Genre » Dar Williams – Many Great Companions (2010 FLAC)

Dar Williams – Many Great Companions (2010 FLAC)

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Dar Williams - Many Great Companions (2010 FLAC)

Dar Williams – Many Great Companions (2010 FLAC)

Artist: Dar Williams
Album: Many Great Companions
Release/Reissue: 2010
Genre: Country

CD 01
01. Calling The Moon
02. If I Wrote You
03. Spring Street
04. I’ll Miss You Till I Meet You
05. The Christians And The Pagans
06. What Do You Hear In These Sounds
07. The One Who Knows
08. The Babysitter’s Here
09. As Cool As I Am
10. You Rise And Meet The Day
11. Iowa
12. When I Was A Boy

CD 02
01. It’s Alright
02. Are You Out There
03. As Cool As I Am
04. If I Wrote You
05. February
06. The Mercy Of The Fallen
07. The Easy Way
08. The One Who Knows
09. Teen For God
10. After All
11. Book Of Love
12. The Beauty Of The Rain
13. The Babysitter’s Here
14. Better Things
15. Spring Street
16. The Ocean
17. Closer To Me
18. Empire
19. The End Of The Summer
20. When I Was A Boy

Seven albums and 17 years into her recording career, Dar Williams certainly has a body of work that justifies a “greatest-hits” album, but she’s opted to do something a bit more ambitious than just slap a bunch of her best-known tunes onto a CD. Many Great Companions is a two-disc set, with one disc collecting 20 songs from Williams’ previous albums that have become fan favorites over the years, and the other consisting of new recordings of 12 tunes from her catalog (six of which appear on both discs), performed in stripped-down acoustic format with a few guests, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks (who also co-produced the new material). Though the new recordings are well done, the nature of the performances puts the focus on Williams’ folky side, at the expense of the pop- and rock-influenced material that has represented some of her best work; Williams has been fortunate enough to work with producers who’ve fleshed out her songs without burying their lyrical and melodic strengths, and the no-frills versions of “Spring Street” and “What Do You Hear in These Songs” sound like pale shadows of the originals. Also, some of the numbers, such as “The Babysitter’s Here” and “When I Was A Boy,” were not especially far from solo acoustic recordings in the first place, and while Williams is a more confident and nuanced vocalist in 2010 than she was in 1993 when those songs were recorded for The Honesty Room, the differences are not so dramatic to keep the new recordings from seeming like footnotes in comparison to the original versions. However, both discs offer abundant evidence that Williams has been one of the best singer/songwriters to come out of the contemporary folk scene in the past two decades, and her material — heartfelt, soul-searching, and often witty and full of fascinating detail — is invariably impressive stuff. Ideally, Many Great Companions would be best purchased by two people going halves on the set — a devoted fan who wants to hear the new recordings can take disc one, someone unfamiliar with Williams can take disc two, and they’ll both go home with something likely to please them.