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.
You can view the premiere ON THIS VIDEO GALLERY PAGE when it becomes available at 1pm on February 6 — or you can use the button in the right column of this page.
Bill Staines, America’s Quintessential Troubador
Through words and music, our virtual tribute honors America’s quintessential troubadour, Bill Staines, who passed away on December 5, 2021.
Bill Staines received the Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 and also performed at a couple of Festival concerts. His songs have been sung by many others and are often used in schools, camps, and song manuals. His children’s book received a Parents’ Choice Award.
From his early years playing at coffeehouses in the Boston-Cambridge area in the 1960s to his millions of miles touring and playing at venues throughout the country, Bill wrote and sang songs about the places he visited, the people he met, and the things he encountered. He sang about the diversity of our natural and human worlds, always with appreciation and respect, through songs such as “River,” “A Place in the Choir/All God’s Critters,” “Sweet Wyoming Home,” “Old Pen,” “Rodeo Rose,” and “Roseville Fair.”
Bill’s Final Concert Was At Passim Club with the Passim All-Stars
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please show your support to our performers
There is no fee for this virtual event, but the Festival encourages viewers to support performers by getting tickets to their upcoming concerts, buying their CDs, and joining their Patreon and other platforms.
Links to performer websites and information about where to send donations in Bill’s honor are posted below and with the video on the Woodstock Folk Festival website. We will update this information as more comes available:
Mark your calendars for the 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival
Mark your calendars for the 37th Annual Woodstock Folk Festival on Sunday, July 17,
2022; the All-Sing Finale will include a tribute to Bill Staines.
The Festival is an entirely volunteer-run 501(c)(3) Illinois non-profit organization, made possible in part by Radio Partners WDCB, WFMT, and WNUR, the City of Woodstock, and Real Woodstock (www.realwoodstock.com).