Sunday, January 27, as the Woods Hole Folk Music Society celebrates its 41st season, singer-songwriter Bill Staines will return for his 41st concert. He is the only artist to perform every season since the organization's inception, earning him a special place for regular concertgoers and folk music aficionados.
Bill Staines has long occupied a central position among traditionally inspired singer-songwriters, with songs such as "River," "Roseville Fair" and "All God's Critters" that have become beloved classics. Over time he has added many more original songs — about the beauty of wild lands, the challenges of raising children, the endurance of the human spirit, and the comic elements of life on the road. Delivered with relaxed confidence, crisply accompanied by an unusual left-handed guitar style, and peppered with hilarious anecdotes, Bill Staines' performances are heartwarming experiences for old and young alike. Fans from the 1970s now bring children and grandchildren to meet him and join in on choruses they have heard all their lives. His newest album, "Beneath Some Lucky Star," released in 2012, reflects the optimism of one who believes he was given a unique gift to share, and reflects on a lifetime of singing and writing music from the heart.
Bill Staines got his start in Cambridge, MA in the thriving coffeehouse scene of the 1960s, emceeing hootenanny sessions at the famous Club 47 - now Passim - in Harvard Square. He carried Mississippi John Hurt's guitar, played poker after hours with Tim Hardin, and hung out with Phil Ochs just after his famous Carnegie Hall concert. "I was just a kid then," he says, "but those experiences, and that time in music, became the fabric of my life.
4 decades and 26 albums later, Mr. Staines still continues to tour regularly, performing up to 200 concerts a year across the country. He has sung on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, HBO's award winning series Deadwood, and Public Radio's Mountain Stage. His songs have been covered by artists from Jerry Jeff Walker to Peter, Paul and Mary. His music has won countless awards and has been used in a number of films including Off and Running, with Cyndi Lauper, and The Return of the Secaucus Seven, John Sayles' debut as a writer and director. Bill Staines' songs have appeared in grade school music books, church hymnals, and scouting campfire songbooks; his books and albums are in libraries everywhere; and a number of his originals are published in the classic song collection, Rise up Singing. Composer David Amram recently described Bill as "a modern day Stephen Foster…his songs will be around 100 years from now."
Upcoming performances in Woods Hole include: February 10, instrumental and percussive dance group 4tet; March 10, fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt and l'Esprit Creole; April 28, folk and gospel singers Kim and Reggie Harris; and several more concerts to be announced.
The Woods Hole Folk Music Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enjoyment of folk music in all its forms. Concerts are generally held on the first and third Sunday of each month from October to May. They are made possible by support from its members, season subscribers, volunteers, and performers. More information is available at www.arts-cape.com/whfolkmusic or by calling 508-540-0320.
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