FAIRBANKS — On the heels of her ninth studio release and in the midst of a nationwide tour, folk singer Dar Williams is doing what she does best: Telling stories through song to a diverse crowd of fans.
She’s taking the stage tonight at The Blue Loon, where she will bring tales from “In The Time Of Gods” to life. Weaving current social issues around Greek myths appealed to Williams as a way to address a multitude of goings on across the country.
“The fact is, right now, the last few years in the country were so chaotic. It was almost an epic feeling, with the weather, the economy, social issues. It seems closer to ancient times when heroism and resourcefulness and the colorfulness of your story counted for something,” she said by phone from her home in the Hudson River Valley of New York.
Greek myths have a cast of many characters, she said, and are often interwoven with more than just one person dealing with just one problem. That was the impetus for the “Gods” album — a tool to tell stories that reflect the nation as a whole.
“Whether it’s a god who lives in his workshop and makes exquisitely beautiful things or his wife who is sleeping with the god of war or a goddess of the hunt who has an attachment to the wild she sees being destroyed, these are very modern tales that don’t pull any punches,” Williams said.
Williams, though, wanted to be sure that she was serving the songs themselves, and was prepared to abandon the mythology theme any time it didn’t naturally fit, according to her bio at www.darwilliams.com.
“I didn’t want it to be a gimmick or a test,” she said, but she was pleased to find how flexible and expansive these archetypes really are. The track “The Light and the Sea” began with the notion of the sea god Poseidon, but became a meditation on retaining a moral compass.
“As I get older, my big struggle isn’t being virtuous and moral, it’s more about what I do in chaos,” Williams said. “When I’m stressed out, I say and do terrible things. There’s a light to follow, and you can lose it in chaos.”
Maybe that light led her again to Fairbanks, where she has always enjoyed a stout following. The Wesleyan-educated singer has been playing Interior Alaska since 1997, in part because residents here appeal to her world view.
“Alaska is filled with great fans and folks who are rugged, good-looking, adventurous,” she said. “I believe in positive proximity — and there’s a lot of that in Alaska — to move the world further ahead whether you’re talking energy-wise or hydroponic gardening. I’ve noticed positive proximity has a lot do with giving back. I like to be the person who does that — plays in places where the communities are involved.”
If you go
• What: Dar Williams in concert
• When: 8 tonight at The Blue Loon, 2999 Parks Highway
• Tickets: $25. Ages 21 and over
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter at @FDNMfeatures.