Singer-songwriter Dar Williams began her musical career on the New England coffeehouse circuit in the early 1990s. Her second album, Mortal City, achieved substantial critical notice and acclaim, aided by Williams' tour as an opening act for folk icon Joan Baez, who recorded some of Williams' songs. Williams has since, in the words of Newsweek, “built a reputation as an acoustic songbird whose imaginative lyrics address a wide variety of human experiences.” She has retained old fans and gained new ones through her experiments with a more rock-influenced aesthetic and her creation of Cry Cry Cry, a trio of folk songwriters that used its celebrity to bring attention to lesser-known folk artists' music.
Many of Williams' songs offer listeners what The New York Times characterizes as “clever windows into feminist thinking,” and her hit “As Cool as I Am” has been integrated into the traditional May Day celebration at Bryn Mawr, where Williams has many fans. Throughout her career, she has devoted significant time and resources to political activism, and her most recent release, My Better Self, delves more explicitly into politics than previous albums. Williams has used her promotional tour to draw attention to and raise funds for community-based organizations in the communities throughout the world where she has performed.