Dar Williams has become a major force on the New England folk scene. An idiosyncratic songwriter who writes folk songs from a unique, often insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy and the quirky; her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but with a few acidic and at times hilarious twists. She was born in Mount Kisco, New York, but raised in Chappaqua, the daughter of medical writer/editor Gray Williams and Marian Ferry, an active figure in Planned Parenthood. Her parents were educated at Yale and Vassar, respectively. Raised in a decidedly liberal arts atmosphere, Williams began studying guitar at age nine and wrote her first song at 11. In high school she was interested in athletics, but an ankle injury led her to audition for the musical Godspell. She became active in drama, and by her senior year, after composing more music and writing plays, considered herself a playwright. She blames an "existential crisis" at age 16 for her creativity and sharp sense of humor.