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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

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Pop Filter Hot Pick: WYEP's special evening with Dar Williams at Google

Dar Williams
Dar Williams
Supporters of local independent radio and fans of folk music won’t want to miss the chance to share an intimate evening with Dar Williams on August 24th. The acclaimed American singer-songwriter will perform a special exclusive set during a fundraiser for WYEP at Google's tech- and design-savvy digs in Bakery Square.

Performing as a duo, Williams will play covers of some of her longtime favorite songs along with selections from In the Time of Gods, her latest LP released on April 17th, on NYC-based label, Razor & Tie. Advance tickets are required, as space is limited.

The local independent radio station, which is based out of its sustainable Bedford Square headquarters on the Pittsburgh's South Side, is taking its live music series on the road to the East End for a night of pop folk and organic fare and the company's high tech digs. Gone are the dark smoky confines of the rock club--the venue for Friday's special set is Google's unique theater space within the East Liberty-based mixed-use development.

Boasting a musical versatility that blends elements of folk, pop and rock into her own authentic sound, Williams' highly emotional songs are capable of conveying universal and global themes. According to Rosemary Welsch, longtime host of WYEP's "Afternoon Mix," Williams can be "empathetic, sarcastically funny, and intellectually invigorating without getting heavy handed."

Née Dorothy Snowden Williams, the prolific songwriter is known for crafting songs that are inspired by memories of personal experiences and people she grew up with in Chappaqua, New York. Her acclaimed 2008 album, Promised Land, was produced by indie engineer Brad Wood, and became the highest charting album of her career when it entered Billboard at #95.

Dubbed "one of America’s very best singer-songwriters" by The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, Williams has toured with top acts such as Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Griffin, Ani DiFranco, and Shawn Colvin.

Rock for a cause

A special fundraiser for the homegrown radio station, Friday's benefit bash will also feature an open bar, local and organic fare and the chance to see Google's theater space.

Accompanying the special concert will be a creative array of culinary treats created by Google's head chef that emphasize local organic ingredients. Expected on the menu are yellowfin tuna tartare with wasabi aioli on a sliced English cucumber, roasted pear and stilton flatbread with caramelized onions and black sesame chicken with ginger soy. Hungry yet?

Get refreshed at the bar, with a selection of beer from Yuengling and Fuhrer Wholesale and Wines selected by Bridge Ten Brasserie.

Proceeds from ticket sales will support independent radio and programming at WYEP, which was founded "in a dusty, dark basement in Oakland by a group of volunteers" nearly 35 years ago.

Local love

The event at Google will also highlight Williams' unique relationship to the WYEP airwaves and listeners--and her affinity for the Burgh. She is sure to fill Google's tech savvy space with her signature warm sound--and engaging heartfelt way with audiences.

Since her 1995 debut The Honesty Room, Williams has been featured regularly on 91.3fm, with songs such as "The Christians and the Pagans," "Are You Out There," and What Do You Hear in These Sounds" becoming favorites among local listeners.

Williams was one of a number of recording artists--along with Lucinda Williams and Ani DiFranco--invited to be a part of WYEP's Circle of Friends, the artist advisory board that was created during the station's Community Broadcast Center Capital Campaign. Williams also performed at the Center's grand opening festivities.

Recently, Williams a featured performer at WYEP's 12th Annual Summer Music Festival in Schenley Plaza, where she even brought on members of local pop rock band Meeting of Important People to accompany her for a song.

Advance tickets are required. Seating is limited. Parking at Google is free. Purchase tickets now. Cost: $70/person. Doors open at 7 p.m.

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