As a long-time Eugenean, I grow weary of Eugene jokes. On balance we’re bigger, hipper and more happening that our patchouli and tie-dye reputation. But since there’s often some truth in stereotypes, every so often I hear a tall-tale of the EUG and can’t help but think: “Only in Eugene.”
“It was like being inside a toadstool,” says critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Dar Williams. Williams is recalling her show in Eugene opening for String Cheese Incident at the Hult Center. “I got the most incredible contact high,” Williams jokes, describing the cloud of pot smoke that filled the venue.
And after the first time Williams played in Eugene, she stopped by one of our many health food stores. A stranger said, “Dar, you are a star.”
“I was like, ‘Oh my god! I’m just starting my career,’” Williams says. “This is so exciting.”
Since then, Williams always makes a local tour stop. This time she comes through town in support of her 2015 release Emerald.
While Williams is often lazily called a folk singer, Emerald showcases her pop influences, particularly on the Elvis Costello-style album track “FM Radio.”
“I love pop music and I always have” Williams says. “Elvis Costello was very big in college. The pop artists were influenced by the folks artists and vice-versa, all along the way.”
“FM Radio” is also a love note to a time when, for music lovers, radio was king. “There was a sense of participation,” Williams says. “Participation with each other, participation between audiences and the artist. There’s a lot of commercial stuff to mediate that now.”
Dar Williams performs 7:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 20, at The Shedd; $14-$36. All ages. — William Kennedy