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The Beauty of the Rain Enhanced

88 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, February 18, 2003
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$9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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With each release, this East Coast singer-songwriter moves farther from the strictures of folk into the musical mainstream. While Dar Williams's artistic trademarks--lyrical introspection, melodic warmth, an occasional tendency toward breathy vocal preciousness--remain much in evidence on this collection, produced by Stewart Lerman and Rob Hyman, the expanded musical support adds more rhythmic propulsion and layers of harmonies to the mix. Among the highlights are "I Saw a Bird Fly Away," featuring the harmonica chirp and background vocals of Blues Traveler's John Popper and the keyboard of John Medeski, and a hymnlike transformation of the Band's "Whispering Pines," with vocal counterpoint from Cliff Eberhardt and harmonies from Alison Krauss. Other musicians making key contributions include banjoist Béla Fleck, trumpeter Chris Botti, bassist Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band), and fiddler Mike Kang (String Cheese Incident). Titles such as "Farewell to the Old Me" and "I Have Lost My Dreams" reinforce the spirit of transformation, though one of the strongest cuts here, "Mercy of the Fallen," sticks closest to folk convention. --Don McLeese


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 18, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Razor & Tie
  • ASIN: B0000894RG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Brian Melendez on July 4, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The beauty of a Dar Williams album is that you buy it for a song that you heard on the radio, or a snippet of words and music heard in the background of a television show's soundtrack. You listen, you enjoy, then it hits you: the mainstreamy, poppish tunes that you thought you were getting are just the surface current. Dar Williams's music always runs much deeper, and one day you realize how much lies beneath the surface (and wonder why the record companies and the deejays aren't displaying the real treasures).
As it did to some extent on "The Green World," the album before this one, a subtle theme of family runs through this album's songs (some of them, anyway). And Dar's understanding of family is rich and complex. Her songs are not syrupy ballads about parents loving their children, nor are they angry screeds about one generation rebelling against the generation before. Those motifs are both present, from the anger of "Your Fire Your Soul" ("But any day now one of us could die, and if we make you suffer don't you want to find out why, / Cause we love to watch you try, With your fire, your soul, your soul") to her heartstring-tugging ode to a mother's love for her child in "The One Who Knows" ("I want to teach your heart to trust, as I will teach my own, / But sometimes I will ask the moon where it shined upon you last, / And shake my head and laugh and say it all went by too fast."). Love and anger aren't always mutually exclusive, though, in life or in these songs, and Dar is at her best when she captures them together ("You should leave this house, leave this town, All that's left to chart is nothing less than your own heart. / What can you do with a day? What will you wake up and see? / The farther you get, the closer to me.").
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I was also introduced to Dar through her earlier music and very reticent to get this album, based on concerns about it being overly "pop." I got it anyway, and am very glad I did. It's definitely not the acoustic singalong style of some earlier music, but it's very far from soulless pop. The songs are gorgeously crafted and the lyrics are in many cases quite moving. Dar has not let me down in any way with this lovely album.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Life many people who wrote reviews, I have been a Dar fan since her Northampton days in 1993. Like others, she took me through college, through the quaintness of New England, and taught me how to ponder, criticize, and question our everyday life. Her latest release is drastically different from _The Honesty Room_. But listening to this release in the progression of things, through _End of the Summer_, through _The Green World_, we realize that like all of us, she has grown up some as well. This release, while having a full sound and a strong bass that sometimes beats so hard it brings a headache, still holds a certain ingenuity and sincerity that made Dar popular. Some of the songs here are clearly reminiscent of previous releases - "Mercy of the Fallen" sounds like "Spring Street" and "I Saw A Bird" sounds just like "What Do You Love More Than Love". In fact, you can sing one song along to the other... The fullness of the sound overshadows Dar's voice and takes the rawness and emotion out of it. But while her sound has evolved into a foreign one for her longtime fans, I believe the message and the intellect are still there. Songs like "Mercy of the Fallen" and "The One Who Knows" will bring you to tears with their poignancy. Therefore, I would recommend this release with the strong suggestion that any new Dar fan get a hold of her previous releases to fully understand her roots.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dave W on April 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I've been a Dar fan since day one, and I've been buying her releases ever since. In contrast to what some others have said about this release, I found it to be one of her best, nearly moving me as much as -The Honesty Room- did when I first heard it. While it may be more produced than hardcore folkies are comfortable with, tracks such as "Mercy of the Fallen," "I Saw a Bird Fly Away," and "Closer to Me," bring Dar back to what I've always enjoyed about her lyricism; Namely, she seems continually able to find the poetry in the smallest occurences of every day life. I'd highly recommend this album... and suggest you enjoy the little deviations from the typical acoustic guitar/sparse vocals as a new way to appreciate folk.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dave on September 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Dar Williams' music and lyrical charm and wit have captured my attention on her previous outings. Upon fist listening to "The Beauty Of the Rain", it seemed things were getting a little samey. During subsequent listenings, I sensed something unfolding - that rare moment when musical transcendence occurs. The voice lofty, sweet and earthy. The lyrics insightful, mellifluous and of the soul. The music a comfortable vehicle for a journal of life and its changes. Remove one note (as Salieri said of Mozart's music) and there would be diminishment. This album is a gift, like a comfortable novel that on can read again and again, each time revealing an intriguing nuance. For those unfamiliar with Dar Williams, this is an luminous introduction. If you treasure the unique, you will not be disappointed.
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