The initial idea came in a flash. Dar Williams was driving on an isolated highway, crossing from New York into Ontario, surrounded by frozen fields, silver trees, and empty sky, when inspiration struck.
“I thought, ‘I want to write a biker song!,’” Williams says with a laugh. “And then my second thought was, ‘I want to write an epic biker song.’ The Greek messenger of the dead is named Hermes, and I want to write about him-the god of travelers and thieves.
“I had this picture of Hermes starting to take a silver-haired woman down to her...