Monday, January 29, 2007

Musical Food for Thought

Last night I saw Dar Williams in concert here in Petaluma, California. The socially and politically astute folk singer/songwriter was deLightful, and I was as moved by her music as I was by this interview with her I read a few weeks ago, which prompted me to visit her website and discover she was about to perform locally. Given that Dar and I go 'way back, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see her in person—even if we have yet to actually meet!

Here's the backstory:

In 1995, deep into my spiritual emergence, I was preparing to drive from New York State to New Mexico. I happened to read a magazine blurb about a guide to natural food stores and healthy restaurants, Tofu Tollbooth, compiled by Dar and her friends as they toured the U.S., because they refused to eat McDonald's-type fare on the road. At the time, Dar had several albums to her credit, but had not risen to her current musical stature. I was able to reach her by phone, and she generously agreed to ship me the book while my check "crossed" in the mail to her, since I was leaving in just a few days. The book proved invaluable, and I bought the update in 1998 (which served me well when I again drove cross-country, in the summer of 2000).

Though Dar and Co. no longer publish the guide, and of course it's now much easier to find what we need online, a paperback in the car still comes in handy when you're hungry and there's nothing but Arby's or Burger King on the major arteries (another good reason to travel backroads, if you have the time and patience). In 2006 I discovered what Tofu Tollbooth has morphed into: an equally handy guide now known as Healthy Highways. Check it out before you take to the road...

And about Dar's concert: it was as emotionally and spiritually delicious as the healthy eating guides. I quote some of her lyrics in my February e-newsletter, What Shines, due out by the end of the week.

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