Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bill Morrissey Tribute

This Thursday there is a concert to honor the memory and accomplishments of the late Bill Morrissey. This is a wonderful thing with his friends flying in at their own expense to perform. Peter Case, for example, is coming in from the west coast.

There are some things about Bill that I want to remember above and beyond his skills as a songwriter and performer. He was generous, especially with younger artists. This was not only because he was a kind and giving person, but because he understood his place in the musical continuum. I remember one afternoon when a young songwriter, and I won't say who, came into the radio station very excited because Bill had talked to them. But not just talked to them - but treated as an artistic equal. And here's a name I will mention. Ask Mark Erelli about the concert he shared with Morrissey when Bill asked him to sing "Birches."

Bill was one of the funniest people I've ever known. His humor came from his humanity and from his incredible observational skills. The same things that made him not just a great songwriter but a great writer.

Though he would probably have denied it, Bill was a sensitive guy. Every mistake he made in his life, and every harm he caused another, lived like a barbed fish hook in his flesh.

Bill was also incredibly courageous. He fought demons all through his life that few of us can imagine. The demons finally took him, but he battled hard, right to the end. And that is the Bill Morrissey I want to remember.

~ Dave Palmater

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