Eileen Kern

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Dar Williams – The Honesty Room 20th Anniversary Tour


The itty bitty little figure in the blurry picture above is Dar Williams, and the event I so valiantly attempted to capture in this image (with simultaneous attention to the institution’s cell phone/camera policy) was a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first album, The Honesty Room.

The concept was simple: Dar would be playing the full album live (and in order) in an acoustically-beautiful space. When Dan asked if I wanted to go with him to the concert, I realized how long it had been since I’d thought of Dar’s music–music which I had listened to daily during some of my awkward teenage years.

Dar apparently had some similar feelings when she decided to go through with this tour: There were some songs that Dar hadn’t played in quite some time. In an interview, she described the experience of revisiting that album and those songs:

Well, truth be told, it’s more like a time capsule. And it’s fun to go back.

I didn’t know what the ending was going to be: I didn’t know that the guy who dumped me was going to later on design my webpage and be one of my best friends and be such a good person in my life. And I didn’t know that by going out on the road in my tiny little Honda that I was going to see so much of the world physically and metaphorically. I didn’t know how great it was going to be.

So the time capsule takes me back to all of those assumptions that I made that things were going to work out… but when, I didn’t know. And there’s something really that was very powerful about that time.

And there was something pretty powerful for me, sitting in the back of that church, listening to musicians tell their stories about being artists, remembering what it was like to be introduced to Dar’s music by my writer friends at writer camp, when I first started thinking of myself as a potential professional artist as well.

The song You Are Aging Well has stuck with me since that show; it was always one of my favorites, when I used to listen to the album all the time. Now that I’m a little older, I think there is even more meaning for me in the song today. Here’s the chorus, though I am sorely tempted to play the full song (please do listen–the link above will do–if you have a moment):

They say, “I’m so glad that you finally made it here.
You thought nobody cared but I did, I could tell;
And this is your year, and it always starts here,
And oh, you are aging well”

Today I listen and I feel gratitude for the words around me, for the positive voices and musics that serve as inspiration. After all, aren’t we aging well?