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Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)

Related threads:
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GUEST,Frank Hamilton 11 Apr 22 - 11:27 AM
Joe Offer 02 Mar 22 - 03:42 PM
open mike 07 Feb 22 - 02:16 PM
YorkshireYankee 04 Feb 22 - 01:22 AM
Jeri 11 Jan 22 - 02:57 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 22 - 01:39 AM
GUEST 31 Dec 21 - 08:58 PM
bbc 21 Dec 21 - 04:25 PM
bbc 21 Dec 21 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,bbc 20 Dec 21 - 08:47 PM
Felipa 17 Dec 21 - 08:58 AM
Dorothy Parshall 11 Dec 21 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,Mike Regenstreif 10 Dec 21 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 08 Dec 21 - 02:58 PM
Musicman 08 Dec 21 - 11:50 AM
Jeri 07 Dec 21 - 10:01 PM
GUEST 07 Dec 21 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Backwoodsman 06 Dec 21 - 05:03 PM
wendyg 06 Dec 21 - 02:03 PM
robomatic 06 Dec 21 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Charlie Ipcar 06 Dec 21 - 11:45 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 21 - 11:45 AM
Waddon Pete 06 Dec 21 - 11:23 AM
wendyg 06 Dec 21 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Little Robyn 06 Dec 21 - 02:09 AM
GUEST,Backwoodsman 06 Dec 21 - 12:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Dec 21 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,bbc 05 Dec 21 - 09:47 PM
Elmore 05 Dec 21 - 09:10 PM
Ebbie 05 Dec 21 - 08:07 PM
JennieG 05 Dec 21 - 07:48 PM
KT 05 Dec 21 - 07:46 PM
Jeri 05 Dec 21 - 06:51 PM
Jeri 05 Dec 21 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,maeve 05 Dec 21 - 05:10 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 21 - 05:05 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 21 - 05:03 PM
GUEST 05 Dec 21 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Topical Tom 05 Dec 21 - 12:21 PM
Ebbie 05 Dec 21 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 04 Dec 21 - 05:40 PM
robomatic 02 Dec 21 - 07:07 PM
Dorothy Parshall 02 Dec 21 - 04:32 PM
Ebbie 01 Dec 21 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,saulgoldie 30 Nov 21 - 10:41 AM
Jeri 28 Nov 21 - 10:20 PM
GUEST,pattyClink 28 Nov 21 - 10:16 PM
RTim 27 Nov 21 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Greg Doucette 27 Nov 21 - 07:06 PM
Joe Offer 27 Nov 21 - 06:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 11 Apr 22 - 11:27 AM

Bill's songs will live on. One of the great songwriters of our time.

Rivers, Roseville Fair, Quiet Faith of Man,   his legacy is with us still.

A great guy. A left-handed guitar picker like McCartney.

He was also an accomplished yodeler. My late wife Mary and I were passengers on a local sailing boat called the Lewis R. French. Bill was aboard and we had great music when we tied up to another boat in Penobscot Bay.

While on the sea, Gordon Bock messaged us from his adjacent boat. Bill was teaching a course in yodeling to all of us. For most of us it was alley cats on the back fence. Gordon radioed, "Bill, what are you doing to those people?"

Bill will be loved and not forgotten. The River still flows to the sea.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Mar 22 - 03:42 PM

Here's a performance by Bill Staines on the River City Folk program, apparently in 1994 or 1995. He sure looks young in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTFSbnX2pZ0


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: open mike
Date: 07 Feb 22 - 02:16 PM

DO LISTEN THE THE WOODSTOCK TRIBUTE TO BILL STAINES...A MOST WONDERFUL HOUR IMMERSED IN HIS MUSIC WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVED BILL. DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS WOODSTOCK IS IN CHICAGO, NOT NEW YORK? https://woodstockfolkfestival.org/aiovg_videos/a-virtual-tribute-to-bill-staines-hosted-by-the-woodstock-folk-festival-premieres-sunday-february-6/ (LINK POSTED ABOVE, AS WELL.)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 04 Feb 22 - 01:22 AM

A Virtual Tribute to Bill Staines hosted by the Woodstock Folk Festival premieres Sunday afternoon, February 6, at 1pm/CST. February 6 would have been Bill’s 75th birthday.

Among those you will hear at this Tribute are the Passim All-Stars, a “supergroup” of some of the most popular performers at the legendary Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These Massachusetts-based artists all began performing at Club Passim in the 1970s, and their November 21, 2021 concert at Club Passim was Bill’s final concert.

The All-Stars include Mason Daring and Jeanie Stahl, who perform throughout New England. Mason is a musician and composer who has written many scores for tv and film, including the music for most of John Sayles’ films. Jeanie’s vocals are featured on the soundtrack of many films and tv shows. Their song “Marblehead Morning,” which Mason wrote, is a classic. – www.jeaniestahl.com, www.daringandstahl.com, masondaring.com
Other Performers for this Tribute to Bill Staines

Billy Novick is a well-known sax and clarinet player who is on the soundtrack to numerous films. He composed a piece specifically for this tribute. In addition to his own playing and composition, he often performs with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band and with Guy Van Duser. – billynovick.com

Guy Van Duser is known for his finger-style guitar playing and frequent appearances on “A Prairie Home Companion”; he teaches at Berklee College of Music.

Stuart Schulman plays numerous instruments in a variety of styles and often accompanied Bill on violin on his albums and with the All-Stars; he also plays with Jonathan Edwards and is on the soundtrack to John Sayles’ Passion Fish.

New York-based Priscilla Herdman is best known for her compelling interpretations of songs by other songwriters including Bill Staines. She was also part of the Herdman, Hills, and Mangsen Trio, which included Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen. – priscillaherdman.com

Illinois-based award-winning singer-songwriter Joe Jencks performs throughout the United States and overseas. His songs such as “Lady of the Harbor” are now part of the folk music lexicon. He was also a founding member of the Brother Sun trio and has performed at the Festival several times. – joejencks.com

New Jersey-based Mara Levine, an outstanding interpreter of songs including those of Bill Staines will be joined by Long Island, New York-based Gathering Time (Stuart Markus and Hillary Foxsong). Since 2006 Gathering Time has been performing originals and songs by others at festivals and other folk venues around the country. They all performed at the 2018 Woodstock Folk Festival. Mara is also a jewelry designer. – maralevine.com, gathering-time.com

Portland, Oregon-based Tom May is the founder and host of the nationally syndicated radio show “River City Folk.” For over 35 years he has interviewed and performed with his guests, including Bill Staines. He also writes songs, performs around the world, and runs a benefit concert for Sisters of the Road in Portland. – tommayfolk.com

Illinois-based but internationally touring singer-songwriters Small Potatoes (Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso) celebrate 30 years of playing and singing together this year. They play a variety of instruments in styles ranging from Celtic to Cowboy. They have traveled and performed with Bill Staines, including at the 2016 Festival. Rich is also editing this tribute. – smallpotatoesmusic.com


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for posting that, Joe. I think I intended to listen live, but didn't. I thought there'd be time.
I can't not sing along, even if it's a recording, and I'm an audience of me.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 01:39 AM

I was thinking of Bill Staines today, so I went to YouTube and found this 2016 concert from the library at Durham, New Hampshire. It has a number of songs I wasn't familiar with.
Bill announced his retirement in November, and was dead by early December. My brother-in law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early December, and died December 31. Life slips away quickly, and that hits us hard.
But here's a delightful Bill Staines concert.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ_Nk_3d_uw

And an April 2021 concert from Caffe Lena: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqbJ84L9GIk


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 08:58 PM

I've just seen the New Year in with the BBC Alba ceilidh and it ended with what sounded like Critters in Gaelic...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: bbc
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 04:25 PM

Note about ordering recordings from Bill's website--

Please note that checks must be made out as follows:

"Staines Family Revocable Trust"

If they are made out to Bill, they cannot be cashed!

Thanks on behalf of Karen,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: bbc
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 10:29 AM

Here is the link to Bill's website if you'd like to order his recordings.

Bill Staine's website

Best wishes for the holidays & the New Year,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,bbc
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 08:47 PM

Bill’s recordings are still available on his website, distributed by his widow Karen. You can send a good word with your order to comfort & aid Bill’s family & to let them know how much Bill has meant to us through the years!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Felipa
Date: 17 Dec 21 - 08:58 AM

another tribute to Bill Staines:

a rebroadcast, on line, of a 2019 Bill Staines concert
Sunday 19th Dec, repeated the following Wednesday 22 Dec
https://oldsongs.org/from-the-vault/ on the internet radio station "Folk Music Notebook"
6 and 11 pm Eastern Time Sunday, 12 Noon Wed.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 11 Dec 21 - 03:37 PM

A friend in Nova Scotia just sent me this interview... (hope it works)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Mike Regenstreif
Date: 10 Dec 21 - 02:51 PM

"Remembering Bill Staines" is the theme for the next edition of Stranger Songs on CKCU.

The show is now available for streaming anytime 24/7 by clicking "Listen Now" on the playlist link. Or, hear the broadcast on Tuesday, 3:30-5 pm (EST), at 93.1 FM in Ottawa.

The program includes 14 recordings by Bill as well as versions of some of his songs by Mason Daring & Jeanie Stahl; Nanci Griffith; Paul Mills; Jerry Jeff Walker; Priscilla Herdman; Josh White, Jr.; Eve Goldberg; and Mara Levine.

Stranger Songs playlist link for December 14, 2021


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Dec 21 - 02:58 PM

What sad news! Bill was such a generous guy, down to earth and of course a leading
songwriter.

My fond memories of him are when we were on the Lewis R. French together. We sang
and ate well.

While in Penobscot Bay, a message came in from Gordon Bok who was also on the
water that day. Bill was teaching a yodeling class. He was a great yodeler.

We sounded like students of yodeling you'd expect to sound.

Gordon said, "Bill, what are you doing to those people?"

We were tied up with another boat on that trip and we gave a concert. I had a funky
old banjo at that time. It was a memorable evening on the water.

Bill will be missed! His legacy will continue through his wonderful songs.

He graced the "me and thee" coffeehouse in Marblehead for many a year.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Musicman
Date: 08 Dec 21 - 11:50 AM

Hi all
I had the pleasure of knowing Bill personally for over 20 years. I knew his music since the early '80s and maybe saw him in concert in Bellingham once or twice back then. About 2000, my wife had just passed the year before and I saw Bill was performing in Seattle so I told my daughter, then 12, we're going to see him. First time I'd heard Child of Mine, sitting with my daughter, a year after her mom just died.... She remembers that night too! After that I was able to bring Bill up to the Vancouver area for about 4 years to do shows. He would stay with us, travel a bit in Southern BC, share stories and had a great time hanging with one of my music 'heros'. One of my fun memories is being on the BC Ferries going to the Gulf Islands. We were on the outer deck and they had just announced the horn would be sounding, I told Bill, "Cover your ears, they're sounding the horn", He grabs his hat!! Looks at me and grins... oops! Most recently my wife and I would go down to Oso, Washington where he played at the Rhodes River Ranch (a beautiful location!) where there would be about 15 of us enjoying his music. I would always 'drag' some friends down to join us for the shows. Then we would all join Bill for supper and a few drinks and swap stories... The last time we saw him (2019) we could see he was getting tired and stiff... but the music was always there.
His music will always be a part of my life and many others, his memory will live on in the music he created.
RIP Bill....


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Dec 21 - 10:01 PM

Rompin' Rovin' Days, written by Bruce Murdoch.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 21 - 06:37 PM

Bill Staines: Rompin' Rovin' Days
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv4FtiBxCrk


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Backwoodsman
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 05:03 PM

GUEST posting at 11:45 AM was me.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: wendyg
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 02:03 PM

>>
I knew he was left-handed, but I never realised he played a right-handed guitar upside-down, strung as it would be for a right-handed player - astonishing! >>

Oh, yeah. The first time I saw him play with a flat pick - strumming upwards to get a chord - the world reeled a little.

wg


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: robomatic
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 01:34 PM

I'll be thinking of him. Again, thanks for the posting. I'd rather learn it now from Mudcat folk rather than miss it and then maybe hear it in passing well after.

I remember him singing in a church venue in Needham, Mass. I'm pretty sure I heard him outdoors as well. Good old New England times. Good to have in my memory bank.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Charlie Ipcar
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 11:45 AM

Bill will be missed but always remembered for his songs and stories, his presentation, and his good will. He was a modern day troubadour, and I'm sure he'll find his place in the heavenly choir.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 11:45 AM

"We didn't know he was left-handed."

I knew he was left-handed, but I never realised he played a right-handed guitar upside-down, strung as it would be for a right-handed player - astonishing!

Backwoodsman


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 11:23 AM

There will always be a place in my heart for Bill and his songs. As it's been estimated that 1 - 8 men will suffer from prostate cancer during their lifetime, now would be a good time to get a PSA test. Especially, as saulgoldie says further up the thread, if you are over 50 or have a family history of prostate cancer. I was lucky. It was diagnosed in time thanks to a doctor who spotted it in time.

My condolences to all those who know and love Bill and his music. I know he will live on through his music and the pleasure he gave so many people. I have added his name to the "in Memoriam" thread.
RIP


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: wendyg
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 07:47 AM

We first booked him at the Cornell Folk Song Club in 1973, off a demo tape. Come time to make the poster, no one knew anything about him (people weren't so organized in those days about photos and press kits), so our poster-maker decided on a silhouette of a man sitting on a stool playing a guitar. How could it go wrong?

We didn't know he was left-handed.

Last time I saw Bill, probably 15 years ago, he was closing in on 2 million miles traveled as a folksinger. I'm guessing he must have come close to 3 million, all told. We will all miss him.

wg


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Little Robyn
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 02:09 AM

Too sad.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (1947-2021)
From: GUEST,Backwoodsman
Date: 06 Dec 21 - 12:32 AM

Very sad news, another good one gone. RIP.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 10:07 PM

Bill Staines has been a topic on Mudcat many times. It's poignant to find one started by the late great Jed Marum, who was a Staines fan:

Bill Staines House Concert Review


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: GUEST,bbc
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 09:47 PM

Very sad news!


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: Elmore
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 09:10 PM

Words fail me. I don't pray much, but will pray for his family.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 08:07 PM

"This old horse is tired. It’s time to ride on." Bill Staines


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: JennieG
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 07:48 PM

Sad news indeed......"River" is one of my most favouritest songs ever, it's been in my repertoire for a long time.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: KT
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 07:46 PM

I’m so sorry to learn of Bill’s passing. His music reached hearts far and wide, and will continue to do so. I cherish a fond memory of having lunch with him the last time he was here. A gracious, open and talented soul. Rest In Peace, Bill Staines.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Bill Staines (6 Feb 1947 - 5 Dec 2021)
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 06:51 PM

I was looking for something to post on my Facebook page to say goodbye, and found the following. Bill Staines singing "River" with the Mystic Chorale, from 2015


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 06:34 PM

I changed the thread title.

I've known him for years, although not personally. Fox Hollow, Old Songs, a house concert a few yers ago, and recordings and radio. He also lived about 20 miles away from me. This is so sad - the man was an icon.


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST,maeve
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 05:10 PM

https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-bill-keep-singing

Help Bill keep singing his songs!
$60,856 raised of $25,000 goal

Today by Karen Staines, Organizer
"Please know Bill departed this life this afternoon. The treatment came too late due to the aggressive nature of his cancer. It was only three weeks since his diagnosis."

"Bill was comforted by your generosity- all contributions will go towards his final expenses."

"Thank you all."

"Karen and Bowen"


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 05:05 PM

Second errorL The GoFundMe is still there; don't know what happened.

wg


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 05:03 PM

It seems Karen has deleted the GoFundMe. I received an email from the site with the news.

wg


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 05:02 PM

I'm sorry to tell you all that Bill died this afternoon, per update Karen has posted on GoFundMe. (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-bill-keep-singin). It seems treatment came too late.

wg


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST,Topical Tom
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 12:21 PM

I was fortunate to have seen him several times.He always gave a



\


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: Ebbie
Date: 05 Dec 21 - 04:26 AM

Nice to see you Stringsinger!


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 04 Dec 21 - 05:40 PM

I just taught "A Place in The Choir" to my banjo class. It's a classic.

Take a break, Bill. You deserve it.


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: robomatic
Date: 02 Dec 21 - 07:07 PM

Used to see him regularly when I lived back East in the 80s. Still think of his lyrics and the song "All God's Critters..."

I wish him the best for his health and his wellbeing.

Appreciate this being brought into the forum.


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 02 Dec 21 - 04:32 PM

I want to emphasize what Saul said: it can be cured. Please pay attention to your body!

For all the times I have enjoyed Bill's music - the Door and elsewhere and on his albums which I cherish. So many of "the best song ever"'s. So very special.

(Ebbie: River never fails to enthrall me, and lives in my heart.)


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Dec 21 - 04:53 AM

River, take me along in your sunshine, sing me a song
Ever moving and winding and free
You rolling old river, you changing old river
Let's you and me, river, run down to the sea
Bill Staines

I am sad that Bill has come to this turn in the river but I am beyond glad that he shared his music with us along the way for so many years.


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 30 Nov 21 - 10:41 AM

I am very sorry to hear this. Some of my favorite songs to play are songs he wrote.

And...thread drift alert...

And as a survivor of PC, I would like to shout out to other men over the age of 50 or so to regularly get your PSA levels checked. There are several treatment regimens available. But they all depend on early detection.

Sorry for the thread drift. If this is inappropriate, would a Mudelf please remove it. Thanks.

Saul


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Nov 21 - 10:20 PM

The goal for the GoFundMe drive, started a day ago, was $25,000.
Currently, a day later, they've raised $25,321. I expect it to go on for some time yet. Bill has given so much to us with his songs. He deserves a million bucks, and no cancer.


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 28 Nov 21 - 10:16 PM

I finally was within distance of Old Songs Festival back in 2019 which seems an age ago now. Had the privilege of seeing/hearing Bill Staines, what an entertainer and songwriter. Also got to hear Archie Fisher and Tommy Sands that weekend, wow.

So sorry this has happened to take the wind out of Mr. Staines' sails, but I'm glad he has had that 57 year run and could share his gifts with us.


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: RTim
Date: 27 Nov 21 - 09:10 PM

Bill was always a popular act at the Woods Hole Folk Music Society and generally played to a full house - He performed every year of the Society's existence, and was the Final act at the Final session in 2018 after 47 years!!

Sad to see him so troubled...and I wish him the very best for the future...

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: GUEST,Greg Doucette
Date: 27 Nov 21 - 07:06 PM

There is a GoFundMe set up for those that can help.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-bill-keep-singing

Clickified -Mod


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Subject: RE: Bill Staines sad news - retiring Dec 2021
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Nov 21 - 06:48 PM

I used to see him every year when he came through Davis, California. Then the Palms stopped booking him in the late 1990s, and I never saw him again. He sure was a wonderful performer. I wish him the best.
The legendary Palms Playhouse held 150 people, and Bill usually drew an audience of 75 die-hard fans who knew and sang all the words to all his songs. It was always a wonderful evening, but I suppose a half-full venue doesn't pay the bills. And Bill asked for a minimum of $600, which was too high for many of the house concert venues in the area in the 1990s. So, he didn't come back. But gee, he sure was a wonderful performer.
-Joe-

This is the first obituary I've seen, posted 10 Dec 2021, a week after Scott Alarik and Bill Staines died.
By Sean Corcoran, WGBH, Boston.

We learned of the loss this week of two prominent figures in the local folk scene: Scott Alarik, a journalist, musicologist and songwriter; and Bill Staines, a folk singer who wrote many songs about the natural world. Brian O'Donovan, host of GBH's A Celtic Sojourn every Saturday afternoon, joined host Sean Corcoran on Morning Edition to discuss the mens' work and their legacies.

Sean Corcoran: Scott Alarik managed to do something that not a lot of artists can do. He not only covered music for publications like The Boston Globe, the folk publication Sing Out and Billboard magazine, but he also performed — he was a folk singer himself. And I know he was your friend. Tell us about him.

Brian O'Donovan: He was an amazing character. I first met Scott probably back in 1982 or '83. Around a concert at The Idler, which was a famous folk club right in Harvard Square, sadly, not there anymore. And Scott had just arrived here from Minnesota. I remember my conversation with him was just intriguing. And I was fairly new here. And Scott intrigued me through his writing, his performances and his's advocacy. He was a community activist, really around folk music around the benefits of folk music. And he loved to write about that in the Globe and became well known for that advocacy over his whole life. But he was a triple threat, as you said: he was a performer, he was an activist, and he was just a really gifted writer. He had a wonderful compendium called "Deep Community," a book that he published. And, of course, he wrote a novel about the folk scene in Cambridge around the same time I just referenced, the '80s, called "Revival."

Corcoran: Did he have songs that stand out to you?

O'Donovan: Yes, I you know, I think Scott was a kind of a comforting force for me generally, and I love the song "Carolina Moon" that he wrote himself. It's just a classic kind of '80s folk style. And as I said, it kind of comes at you almost like a cup of hot cocoa.

Corcoran: He was a familiar voice on the radio. Not only did he host his own show on WUMB, he was also a guest on your show quite often. He also appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. And as a journalist, one of the people Scott would certainly have written about would have been Bill Staines, one of the greatest folk singers to ever come out of Massachusetts, born in Lexington. He also came up in that Cambridge folk scene, which was so huge during the '60s and '70s.

O'Donovan: He did and we lost battle stains again this week as well. It was tough to contemplate the loss of both of those giants of the folk world. But Bill also was that great force or kind of just so American to me, he just captured it and he is very popular in Europe, as well, for that reason. So he kind of captured that folksy, kind of traveling-style, easy. He had a great rapport with audiences and got them very much into the songs and his performances. And he really did a lot for bringing people into folk music and continuing what had happened in the '60s, morphed into something quite different: more acoustic, more earthy, perhaps, in line with what was happening in the '80s.

Corcoran: And Bill Staines seemed he had really strong melodies, of course, the backbone of folk music, but he paints a picture with his music. He was a very descriptive writer in his lyrics. He's a naturalist in verse, it seems to me. The song "River" is another one of his most-requested songs.

O'Donovan: He was a naturalist. He talked about the seasons and New Hampshire, and he could just paint a picture of the changing seasons here in New England. He was very New England to me, even though he wrote about other parts of the U.S. There was a New England flavor to them, and he adored how rivers would would look different at different times of the year and capture that perfectly in verse.

Corcoran: And he would connect that natural world to something larger. I expect many of his songs might end up in churches. I'm thinking of songs like "All Things Bright and Beautiful."

O'Donovan: Which is a church song itself. You know, "all creatures great and small" comes from, you know, good old Protestant hymnal, but he was kind of like a revival. as well and I think he kind of brought that almost like a traveling preacher. Not in an evangelical way, strictly speaking, but just got people into the idea that that there maybe was a larger force — it could be nature — and he was going to sing about it unabashedly and get the audience to participate, like his congregation.

Corcoran: I come from a folk family, and I remember my father teaching us All God's Critters, we called it, but I guess it's really called "A Place in the Quiet."

O'Donovan: It just has such a great sentiment: all God's creatures have a place. There's room for diversity in there, and he goes in and names all of the creatures.

Corcoran: One of his most popular songs is "My Sweet Wyoming Home." I expect that maybe music teachers use that to teach the alternating finger style on guitar.

O'Donovan: Well that was a another stock and trade, was his ability to have the finger style guitar. I sent it to somebody yesterday — somebody way younger than me who had recently moved to Wyoming — and I said, "You got to listen to the song." They said, "Listen to this song? That's already the state national anthem."

Scott Alarik and Bill Staines have left behind a legacy of a gentle approach to music.

    Sean Corcoran is GBH’s Senior Managing Editor for News. He grew up north of Boston, and he is a graduate of The George Washington University and the Columbia University School of Journalism. For the first nine years of his career, he worked at various New England newspapers, doing some of the earliest reporting into what is now known as the “opioid crisis.” Sean joined WCAI-FM in 2005 as a senior reporter and later news director. He moved to GBH News in 2017. Sean has been recognized with a DuPont-Columbia Award, two Gabriel Awards and a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He can be reached at sean_corcoran@wgbh.org


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