Bill Morrissey's passing

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paddyinthepub
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Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby paddyinthepub » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:36 am

Just learned Bill Morrissey died. I had to say something. I know Ellis and Bill were friends and I just wanted to pass along condolences to Ellis and all that called Bill friend and family. I know too little about Bill to say much more than this other than the music world has just lost another favorite son.

RIP Bill Morrissey
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul
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Richard + Jela
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Re: Say Something

Postby Richard + Jela » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:41 am

Such a tragedy, I know that he fought a long battle with depression and alcohol but he had been better lately. Only 59 years old, far too young.

Was fortunate enough to see him in London and at Passim; a wonderful writer whose literate style painted pictures.

RIP Bill Morrissey.


Jela

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KarenZ
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Re: Say Something

Postby KarenZ » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:32 am

Wow....I hadn't heard this sad news. :cry: The last time I saw Bill Morrissey was at Passim a few Decembers ago - with Richard and Jela.

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"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:58 am

This from the WUMB wesite -posted a few minutes ago:

Dave Palmater will have a tribute to Bill on tomorrow's Morning Show.


KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:16 am

From Bill's Birches discussion group:

I wanted to thank everyone for their most kind thoughts. I am sorry that Iwasn't able to post myself earlier. It was just too hard to even type the words. But, birches email list and all that are on it meant so very much to Bill. I would literally read the messages to him when he was in rehab. During some of his darkest days messages from birches would literally make his day. The power of all of you gave him great strength and comfort.

I am sad beyond words about this as I know that many of you are.

The phone call from local coroner's office in Georgia was devastating to me.

But, I want you all to know that Bill was in a good place in his life. And hewas looking forward to the future and enjoying his trip on the road. He died in his sleep.

Love to all

Ellen

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"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:41 am

See Vance Gilbert's blog about Bill Morrissey/Amy Winehouse:

heartbroken

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby Richard + Jela » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:19 am

Thoughts on Bill from Ellis posted on his Facebook page:

Bill Morrissey passed away this weekend. I'm in London, his music is playing, and I'm tearful, and missing the sound of his voice telling me jokes I'd heard a hundred times. He was a bit of a mystic to me, part forest elf, wry, wise, mischievous. Listen to "Birches" and you'll hear, in my mind, our country's greatest songwriter remind you of how glorious this art form can be, and I will always measure my own work by the standards he set forth in my mind, which is often a humbling, frustrating task . I wouldn't be anywhere without his impact on my life. He was a mentor, friend, and hero. And he always will be.


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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:48 pm

Here's a link to the Boston Globe's beautifully written obituary:

Grammy-nominated folk artist Bill Morrissey dead at 59

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:38 am

From Mark Erelli's August 2011 newsletter:

BILL MORRISSEY
(November 25, 1951 - July 23, 2011)

I grew up in a Boston suburb with green lawns and good schools. Come graduation day, I was your typical fiery, young man, ready to reject everything and set out for parts unknown to make my own destiny. Newly enamored with the Edward Abbey's tales of adventure in the American Southwest, I longed for an exotic landscape worlds away from manicured suburbia. I became so infatuated with the desert that my passion for Texas songwriters (Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and many others) quickly eclipsed my passion for Aerosmith. I was aware of the regional folk scene by this time, but it seemed to me that "real" country songs all came from the "real country," a place far away from New England.

I headed north to Maine for college, partly because it seemed wilder and more vast than Massachusetts, like the Texas of New England. I mail ordered the latest obscure country records I could not find at the local record store, such as Robert Earl Keen's latest record "A Bigger Piece Of Sky." Like a true liner notes junkie, I scoured the lyrics and credits, noting familiar players and songwriters, then I studied the album artwork. Cowboys and horses? Check. Sagebrush and desert? Check. This was the real deal. However, looking at the picture of Robert Earl I was shocked to see his shirt unbuttoned just enough to reveal he was wearing a Bill Morrissey t-shirt underneath. Discovering Robert Earl's respect for Morrissey was a true revelation, it single-handedly validated New England as credible geography for American Roots Music.

When I began to look for roots music closer to home, it was obvious that Bill Morrissey was king. His songs were like Elmer Rising's pen and ink masterpieces--you could admire each confidently executed lyrical brushstroke and melodic twist on the finest of scales, and never diminish the overall impression of their honesty and truth. At the height of his powers, on 1989's Standing Eight, 1992's Inside and 1993's Night Train, each Bill Morrissey record contained several songs that each would have been the life's work of a lesser artist. There may have been others writing songs equally detailed as "These Cold Fingers," "The Man From Out Of Town" or "Birches," but none were better.

I was lucky enough to meet Bill when I opened a show for him on an Easter Sunday 10 or 11 years ago. After the concert, I was invited back to Cliff Eberhardt's house to hang out with my hero. Of course, "hang out" meant drinking and playing impromptu versions of everything from the Beatles, Stones and Chuck Berry to Gershwin, Porter and Mississippi John Hurt until the wee hours of the morning. Much of that night remains a blur, but I remember feeling so proud when I held my own on guitar and chimed in on harmonies, like a pupil who has pleased his teacher. It was a true education, and by night's end Bill was carrying on like an old Kung Fu master and calling me "Grasshopper." He trotted that nickname out every time I saw him for the next 10 years.

I shared a night with Bill just last year up in Portland Maine. I was getting ready to go on when he approached me and suggested that I sing "Birches," perhaps his best known song, in my set. He still loved the song, but had sung it so many times he didn't feel he was doing it justice anymore. It deserved better and he thought I was up for the job. I was honored but very saddened; it felt like something was being passed, something I didn't want but couldn't give back. I went out and sang "Birches," then backed up Bill for the latter half of his set. We shook hands at the end of the night and talked of doing more shows together. Then I drove away and never saw him again.

Listening to my old Morrissey records over the last few days feels like reconnecting with an old teacher. Like all great art, I continue to peel away the layers, find new details and imagery to appreciate, each song remains a bottomless well of inspiration. I realize now that seeing Robert Earl Keen wearing that Bill Morrissey t-shirt gave me a sort of permission. Without Bill, there would be no River Road, Bend In The River, The Farewell Ball, or Hartfordtown, among others. Bill's music gave me the courage to stay in New England, to find my musical inspiration close to home, to explore the rich variety of roots music from a proudly Yankee perspective. As I continue my work, I suspect I will always feel a bit like a student with much to learn. So from Grasshopper to the Master, thank you Bill for all you taught and continue to teach me. Rest in peace, and send back some more of those "Letters From Heaven" every once and awhile.

peace,
mark


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"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:56 am

Folks,

This past week, Art of the Song: Creativity Radio re-broadcast a 2005 interview with Bill Morrissey. You can listen to the 40-minute interview/performance at the link below.

2005 Interview with Bill Morrissey

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:33 am

This is the best written tribute to Bill that I've seen so far....published in today's The Tennessean.

The quiet death of a troubled, talented troubadour by Peter Cooper.

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

Richard + Jela
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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby Richard + Jela » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:52 am

A beautifully written tribute.

Jela

Patti
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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby Patti » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:21 am

Thanks for the link Karen.. is was nice to listen to.. Liked the song at about 28 minutes in ? something like "He's not from Kansas " ..

Great interview ...
"Embrace what you have in common, celebrate what sets you apart" Ellis Paul

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Re: Bill Morrissey's passing

Postby KarenZ » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:43 pm

WUMB will broadcast Friend of Mine: A Tribute to Bill Morrissey on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 6-7pm and Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 11a-12p. The broadcast is taken from the tribute concert held at the Somerville Theater in Boston on Nov. 17, 2011 hosted by good friend Cliff Eberhardt and David Dye of NPR's World Cafe.

KarenZ
"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.


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