Thursday, July 28, 2011

a tough week to be a folksinger

About a decade before I published In Hoboken, the great songwriter Bill Morrissey published his first (and tragically, last) novel, Edson, expertly edited by the legendary Gary Fisketjon. Reading that novel was a lot like diving into one of Bill's songs. Interestingly (to me, anyway), one of the sub-themes of Edson was parallel to an In Hoboken sub-theme: one generation of musicians coming to grips/terms with another. Just that the point of view was reversed (one looking down, one looking up). Bill Morrissey sure had a way with words, and it's a good read, if you get a chance. I found out this week that Mr. Morrissey passed away. So close on the heels of Jack Hardy it just doesn't seem fair. I didn't know Bill Morrissey, but I knew his songs for sure. It's a sad thing.

In the same week, we lost Dan Peek. You may remember him as one third of the original America. Funny thing...because Dan was gone from the band for so long, I tend to think of America as just Gerry and Dewey. But Dan Peek wrote my favorite America song, "Rainy Day." Cagno taught me how to play that, a very long time ago. If you get a chance, the NY Times obit of Dan is a good read. The others I read just pissed me off, with descriptions of America as that "soft, vanilla good-times band from the 70s." Really? Come on. Why does America always get the "CSN-lite" label? Too easy. Go back and listen to those first handful of albums (produced, by the way, by the great George Martin...and he didn't work with just anyone). Killer songwriting. Great musicianship. They're a kick-ass band. Always were. And Gerry and Dewey are still out working it.

Anyway, a moment for the late, great Bill Morrissey, and a moment for the late, great Dan Peek.