Bill Staines-Effingham Writers' Night

Bill Staines wil be at Effingham writers' night at the Effingham Public Library on Thursday, June 20. (LARRY MARCUS PHOTO)

EFFINGHAM — Friends of Effingham Public Library will be presenting Bill Staines, one of the most beloved songwriters in contemporary folk music, as part of Effingham writers' night on Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m. at the library at 30 Townhouse Road in Effingham.

Heavily inspired by the Atlantic seaside where he grew up, Staines creates original ballads of epic journeys and poignant original story songs of everyday love and loss.

In his early performing days, Staines performed songs by other writers he admired.

“At that time, I was singing mostly traditional material,” Staines said. “Writing my own songs came before too long, being influenced by writers like Pete Seeger, Gordon Lightfoot and Ian and Sylvia.”

Now more than 45 years later, he has become the artist that younger songwriters admire. Telling the story of his musical path in the song “Along the Road,” Staines sings about his first Martin guitar (which he still owns) and how it led him to where he is today.

“Bill Staines has been my hero since 1977," said singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith. "He carries on where Woody left off — carrying on the tradition of stories and characters you wish you knew.”

Playing over 200 dates a year and driving over 65,000 miles annually, Staines' music is a slice of Americana, filled with cowboys, Yukon adventures, fisherman and everyday working people.

A New England native, Staines became involved in the Boston-Cambridge folk scene in the early 1960s and, for a time, emceed the Sunday hootenanny at the renowned Club 47 in Cambridge, Mass. He quickly became  popular in the Boston area. In 1971, after one of his shows, a reviewer for the Boston Phoenix insisted that Staines was “simply Boston’s best performer.” A decade later (in 1980 and 1981), the annual Reader’s Poll of the Boston Globe named him one of Boston’s favorite artists.

Staines also made his mark yodeling. He learned the traditional art by studying the recordings of great yodelers such as Jimmie Rodgers and Montana Slim. He won the National Yodeling Championship at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas in 1975, and has become a perennial instructor of yodeling workshops.

His songs have been recorded by other musicians, including Peter, Paul & Mary, Nanci Griffith, Makem & Clancy, Grandpa Jones, Priscilla Herdman and Jerry Jeff Walker. Over 80 of Staines’ songs have been published in three songbooks. His radio and television appearances have included A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, The Good Evening Show, and he has hosted local programs on PBS and network television. Staines has recorded 26 critically acclaimed solo albums, many of which have been released on Grammy winning.

He continues to write and release new original music. His 2007 release "Old Dogs" charted on folk charts. In October 2012, Red House Records released Staines new studio album, "Beneath Some Lucky Star."

In his liner notes Staines said, “I have always felt that I was blessed to live a life in music and to know that, surely it must have been a lucky star that led me there.”

Writers’ night is the third Thursday of the month is for those who write — music, poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction — and for those who enjoy listening.  Featured writers and musicians will be followed by an open-mic opportunity (limit three minutes). Bring a piece of your own writing or music to share. Enjoy light refreshments and conversation with other writers, musicians and artists.

The library is closed during the day on Thursday.

For more information, contact Katie McCarthy at (603) 651-9796 or katiemccarthynh@gmail.com or call the library (603) 539-1537.

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