In the Time of Gods
Dar Williams masterfully blends folk melodies with pop production on an evocative new album that finds inspiration in Greek mythology and contemporary social issues.
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely and diverse places. Driving along a Canadian road during a beautiful winter’s sunset Dar Williams began to think about Greek myths and the Gods who cohabitated with humans. At the about the same time, in preparation for writing a column for The Huffington Post, Williams began examining current events. Around these concepts coalesced a tableau for her new album In the Times of Gods.
Williams’ landed Kevin Killen as producer, a major coup. Killen has produced albums for Tori Amos, U2, Kate Bush, Bon Jovi, Shakira, Sugarland, Elvis Costello, and Peter Gabriel. However, Williams faced financial restrictions; her label, Razor & Tie, had little money to put toward the project. That’s when Rob Hyman stepped in to save the day. Best known as a member of The Hooters, Hyman graciously offered his home studios and keyboard services to Williams, free of charge. Killen gathered a seasoned group of rock musicians to help mold the songs. The arrangements range from the superb pop of “Summer Child” to the Appalachian romp of “You Will Ride With Me Tonight.” Williams voice is as inspired and emotionally resonant as we’ve ever heard her.
Dar Williams has always been an astute observer of human nature as well as social issues. In the Time of Gods opens with “I Am the One Who Will Remember” an examination of the roots of terrorism. She points out the opportunistic nature of the problem; “just running around, hungry kids, sharpened sticks/And he will grow with pain and fear and jealousy/taken in by schools of zealotry.” “This Earth” is a retelling of Hephaestus, the Greek god of artisans. In this modern day scenario Hephaestus lives in Silicon Valley and has lost the ability to connect to his wife. “Crystal Creek” is a mysterious tale of morality that involves murder. “The Light and the Sea” is inspired by Poseidon and, again, focuses on a moral compass. It also features vocals from Shawn Colvin.
Williams breaks away from the big themes to focus on ones closer to home. “I Have Been Around the World” is a poignant love ballad for her husband. “Write This Number Down,” written for her Ethiopian born daughter, is a source of hope and inspiration. In the Time of Gods wraps with “Storm King.” Named for a mountain in the Hudson Valley, the song combines the mythical, social, and personal elements of the album into one beautiful, mesmerizing moment.