Concept albums aren't only for art-pop or hip-hop; they're for singer-songwriters, too. For proof, listen to the trilogy of albums by Manchester Orchestra in which front man Andy Hull based all the songs on a 17th century sailor.
For New York singer Dar Williams, her concept album comes by way of her ninth studio release, In the Time of Gods. It hits all the same folksy notes as her previous work, but this time her personal stories are blended with ones about Greek gods. With work like that to share, her opening set Jan. 15 at the Tower Theatre should be quite compelling.
Some songs on Time of Gods aren't as plainly mythological as others—"The Light and the Sea" can certainly be linked to Poseidon, but is more about a person's moral compass. Others, though, like "You Will Ride With Me Tonight"—a song with strong ties to the Greek god Hermes, patron and protector of travelers—are very clear about their origin. Regardless, each song retains the honest warm voice and sweet acoustic guitar Williams has been wielding since releasing her first album over two decades ago.
Williams will be opening for Grammy-winning folk singer Loudon Wainwright III, who is touring in support of his own 2012 release Older Than My Old Man Now. Not only did both artists release albums last year, each contributed tracks to Occupy This Album, a four-CD project that acted as a fundraiser for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
With over 60 years of recording between both Wainwright and Williams, this is a rare chance for Bend to witness an evening full of legendary folk music.
Louden Wainwright III with Dar Williams
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15
835 NW Wall St.
$35-$45 at towertheatre.org
Scan this QR code to listen to a special edition of In the Time of Gods on Spotify that includes commentary by Williams.