Dar Williams’ songs are flecked with wistfulness and nostalgia. She’s also fueled by activism, advocacy and empathy.
Thematically, Williams can do both heavy and light. On “FM Radio,” off of her 2015 record “Emerald,” she conjures visions that will be familiar to anyone who came of age during the ‘70s — of snack bars and pools, where the radio and gossip about pop and rock dominated the lives of young people, fans who bought into an inspiring fantasy about freedom and individuality that somehow made their lives more real. She also has songs about the trauma and violence that perpetuate cruelty, about moving to heal people through simple kindness.
She can bring to mind Sheryl Crow, but she has as much in common with Joan Baez, with whom she’s toured. Williams, like Baez, has been outspoken about progressive causes and about the power of song and poetry to make change in the world. Williams is that rare touring musician who, instead of turning the experience of being on the tour for decades into road albums, wrote a book. It’s about small towns, based on her travels around America.
Dar Williams performs at Fairfield Theater Company’s Stage One, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $48. 203-259-1036 or fairfieldtheatre.org.