By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 17, 2009 at 11:37 AM
You think you know Dar Williams and her music already, don't you?

You know she's a product of the folk circuit and that she's shared stages with fellow travelers like Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Patty Griffin.

Maybe you even know that she's got a band with Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell called Cry Cry Cry and that she authored a guide to natural food stores and eateries and a pair of children's books, too.

But, wait. Stop the presses! Williams' latest record on Razor & Tie, "The Promised Land," was produced by Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Ben Lee, Pete Yorn) and isn't entirely what you expect.

Sure, she's got some not-so-unexpected guests in Suzanne Vega, The Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Marshall Crenshaw, but the drummer is Better than Ezra's Travis McNabb and Sheryl Crow sideman Greg Leisz. And Williams covers two tunes: Fountains of Wayne's "Troubled Times" and "Midnight Radio" from the film "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."

Get a closer look at what Williams is up to when she plays at Turner Hall Ballroom on Saturday, Aug. 22 with Steven Kellogg. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $25.

Some other gigs on tap this week include:

Metric and Band of Skulls share a bill on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at The Rave. Tickets are $10.21, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that WLUM is sponsoring the show. Lucky Boys Confusion are at The Rave on Friday at 8 p.m.

Unfunny funnyman -- that's the schtick, folks -- Neil Hamburger returns to the Cactus Club Wednesday while on the road touting his second DVD, "Western Music & Variety." The DVD was filmed in front of a live audience in a studio as Hamburger performs material from his "Country Winners" disc of C&W tunes and mixes in some "classic" routines and recent jokes, too. Dr. Demento emceed the affair and the disc also includes some music videos and the short film, "Neil Hamburger Live at the Cat Hotel." What he'll do at the Cactus is anyone's guess, so why not head down to Bay View and find out.

At Shank Hall that night, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and Strand of Oaks play at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, WMSE presents Commander Cody's Bill Kirchen, along with Joe Pug and Madison's Whitney Man at Shank on Saturday at 8. 

WMSE Radio Summer Camp sets up shop at Turner Hall on Thursday, with a Sometime Sweet Susan reunion, Juniper Tar, The Trusty Knife and The Dim Suns. How can you resist?

On Friday, Twin Cities outfit Gospel Gossip is back for a gig at Club Garibaldi, across from the Cactus, on Russell and Superior. Also on the bill is Milwaukee's own Brief Candles. Gospel Gossip's latest disc is the "Dreamland" EP on Guilt Ridden Pop. The six-track set is at once gritty and dreamy and recalls the likes of Mazzy Star and Echobelly.

The same night, on the East Side, The Wood Brothers and Tristen -- who has been dubbed a modern indie-rock Loretta Lynn -- team up for a show at the Miramar Theater.

Also on Friday, Austin's Megafauna joins our own Elusive Parallelograms for a Borg Ward gig in Walker's Point.

On Saturday, Pezzettino rips it up at the Miramar in another WMSE Radio Summer Camp show, at 9 p.m. The accordion lass herself says, "Conceived as a 'battle cry,' the show is an expressive explosion, allying music performance with belly dancing, capoeira and live art by Dwellephant, who will have boards on either side of the stage."

On Sunday, you can catch Death by Stereo, Motor Boat, Sorry I Stabbed Your Daughter and The Cravens, starting at 4 p.m., at the Modjeska Theater on Mitchell Street.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.