Bill Staines / Cormac McCarthy at the me & thee coffeehouse
Anyone not familiar with the music of Bill Staines is in for a special treat.
For more than forty years, Bill has traveled back and forth across North America, singing his songs and delighting audiences at festivals, folksong societies, colleges, concerts, clubs, and coffeehouses. A New England native, Bill became involved with the Boston-Cambridge folk scene in the early 1960's and for a time, emceed the Sunday Hootenanny at the legendary Club 47 in Cambridge. Bill quickly became a popular performer in the Boston area. From the time in 1971 when a reviewer from the Boston Phoenix stated that he was "simply Boston's best performer", Bill has continually appeared on folk music radio listener polls as one of the top all time favorite folk artists. Now, well into his fifth decade as a folk performer, he has gained an international reputation as a gifted songwriter and performer.
Singing mostly his own songs, he has become one of the most popular and durable singers on the folk music scene today, performing nearly 200 concerts a year and driving over 65,000 miles annually. He weaves a blend of gentle wit and humor into his performances and one reviewer wrote, "He has a sense of timing to match the best standup comic."
Bill's music is a slice of Americana, reflecting with the same ease his feelings about the prairie people of the Midwest or the adventurers of the Yukon, the on-the-road truckers, or the everyday workers that make up this land.
Many of Bill's songs have appeared in grade school music books, church hymnals, and scouting campfire songbooks; he is one of only a few songwriters to have eight songs published in the classic song collection, Rise up Singing. Composer David Amram recently described Bill as "a modern day Stephen Fosterhis songs will be around 100 years from now."
Over the decades, you have heard Bill singing on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, HBO's award winning series Deadwood, and Public Radio's Mountain Stage. Additionally, his music 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- director.
In 1975, Bill won National Yodeling Championship in Kerrville Texas. Another important recognition was given to him in 2007. Presented by the Boston Area Coffeehouse Association, The Jerry Christen Award recognized Bill's contribution to New England folk music.
Currently, Bill has recorded 26 albums; The Happy Wanderer and One More River were winners of the prestigious Parents' Choice Award, taking a gold medal and silver medal respectively. His songs have been recorded by many artists including Peter, Paul, and Mary, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy, The Highwaymen, Mason Williams, Grandpa Jones, Jerry Jeff Walker, Nanci Griffith, Glen Yarborough and others.
As well as recordings, over 100 of Bill's songs have been published in three songbooks: If I Were a Word, Then I'd Be a Song, Movin' It Down the Line, and Music to Me, the latter published by Hal Leonard Corporation. His song, All God's Critters, has been recently released as a Simon and Schuster children's book with illustrations by Caldecott honor-winning artist, Kadir Nelson.
"Folk music is rich in the human spirit and experience. I've always wanted to bring something of value to people through my songs." With these thoughts, Bill continues to drive the highways and back roads of the country year after year, bringing his music to listeners, young and old.
Cormac McCarthy's release of this fourth recording Curious Thing sends out to his listeners the highly anticipated follow up to his release Picture Gallery Blues.
The new release, for Cormac, provides a very fine recording, featuring outstanding studio musicians. Curious Thing is the product of a mature writer, musician (with his own work on guitar & harmonica), performer, humorist, and family man. No quality is lost on this album and it is clear that the art comes from the life of a man who has turned a kind heart and a keen eye towards the life around him, and shared it with us all through talents seasoned by fan pleasing shows around the country.
McCarthy's has also recently re-release his first self-titled, self distributed recording which contains so many of the gems that are often requested by Cormac's loyal New England fans. The CD, Cormac McCarthy is often referred by a stunning signature ballad, Friend of the Family.
While Cormac is not, as often queried, the alter ego of the New York Times Best Selling Author ("All the pretty horses, " Blood Meridian", etc.,) his background in literature, his rural roots, and his knack for penning a great line would make some comparisons easy to draw, and since we've never heard tell of whether or not the Kentucky born novelist can sing, we'll have to leave the contest open.
Cormac McCarthy made his singing debut on WKRC Radio in Cincinnati, as a three-year old belting out "Davey Crockett" on his father's radio show. He returned to public performance some twenty years later, singing his own compositions with a bit more experience in his voice.
Born in Ohio, but rooted in rural New England since the age of ten, Cormac grew up in towns where the economies teetered on marginal sustenance from logging, and paper and woolen mills. His elementary school had the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in the same room. Though the area was small, his musical influences were not: his father's love for jazz and classical music introduced Cormac to everything form Errol Garner to Beethoven.
It wasn't until his sister made a visit home from college, bringing an armful of recordings of Dylan, Baez, and Eric Anderson, that things clicked musically for McCarthy: he traded his clarinet for a Western Auto guitar, purchasing the Black Diamond strings across the street at the barber shop.
In his own college years, Cormac studied literature and music and took a great liking to the works of James Joyce and Mississippi John Hurt. He spent most of his time reading, playing guitar, and working in the local mills to pay for school. College roommate, Bill Morrissey, helped encourage Cormac to make his music more public, and a stint of shared local gigs and storytelling marathons ensued. A trip west followed college, as did an array of different jobs including construction worker, truck driver, street singer, and a season as a migrant worker. Through his music Cormac has succeeded in bringing his lyrical magic to some of these rougher edges of life.
Cormac was nominated for both Outstanding Folk/Acoustic Act, and Outstanding Folk/ Acoustic Album by the Boston Music Awards. Cormac's album, Troubled Sleep helped to kick off the Green Linnet Records' prestigious singer-songwriter Redbird Series devoted to the most creative of this generations acoustic musicians and songwriters. Troubled Sleep won high praise and some overseas attention in the UK. Cormac was honored to be one of the artists asked to perform in Boston's WUMB Folk Radio 10th Anniversary Celebration. He has been invited 3 times to the stage of the Newport Folk Festival, and twice to appear on NPR's "Mountain Stage" Live radio show. A fan favorite and regular at the Hartland Folk Festival, and a frequent special guest to many of the performances by the most popular musician's of the genre. His talents as an on stage humorist have been well remarked upon over recent years, and gave cause to have him invited to headline for the Night of Humor and Songwriters in Boston's Somerville Theater. Cormac is regarded by fellow musicians and fans alike as one of New England's finest songwriters. He writes and sings of a heartfelt, sometimes funny, sometimes desperate, sometimes glorious world of common people, struggles, hope, relationships, madness, and love. He sings the poetry of real life with a silky baritone voice and just enough grit.
Picture Gallery Blues has been call called a masterpiece. The new release of Curious Thing is also a masterwork to be shared with all who have come to know and treasure Cormac's songwriting and delivery.
Presently, Cormac, his wife Sammie Haynes, and their son, Davis, live in a small town in southern Maine; adjacent to the lively Seacoast Arts Scene centered around Portsmouth, NH.
me & thee coffeehouse (View)
28 Mugford St.
Marblehead, MA 01945
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|