Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 13:53:40 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Steve Crump <crumps@CLEMSON.EDU> Subject: Bill Morrissey in Atlanta on 9/20
First off, the venue. The show was sponsored by the Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music, led by Seegar Swanson and his wife Micki. The third Saturday of each month, this group sponsors a "Fiddler's Green Coffee House" series featuring folk musicians from throughout the country.
The shows are held in this little log cabin smack dab in the middle of the Buckhead section of Atlanta. You would have to see it to believe it, but this secluded, peaceful location surrounded by woods is nestled between Peachtree and Piedmont, two of Atlanta's busiest streets.
I am not from Atlanta myself, (some two hours away in South Carolina) but have been receiving Seegar's newsletter via e-mail ever since signing up at Bill's performance last year at the Mid-Town Music Festival in Atlanta. With Seegar's detailed directions in hand, my wife, myself and three other friends had no trouble finding this secluded location.
We got there about an hour early for the 8:00 pm show and occupied all five folding chairs on the front row. Altogether, I would be surprised if the place held 100 people. An $8 donation was requested, but we all pitched in $10 each because we were just glad to be there. I found Seegar and introduced myself. He told me that we did not win the prize for coming the farthest, that someone was there from North Dakota that evening.
After a brief set from the Nancy Moran Trio, Bill took the stage around 9:00 pm. This was the fourth time I had seen him since my "discovery" in May, 1996. The first two times he had a band, and was solo the last time. I was again impressed with how similar the shows were with or without additional musicians.
Bill covered Bob Dylan's "Girl From The North Country", the first cover I had ever heard him do. He made a comment about Dylan playing for the Pope this week.
He seemed genuinely pleased to be there, although he did comment that the venue felt more like a school assembly. He made the usual cracks (at least to us) about being in the South, joking about the weather, food, and particularly, Atlanta's penchant for calling everything Peach-something or other.
Best of all, a couple of times he asked for requests. The crowd seemed to be more folk fans in general than Bill Morrissey fans (although I am sure that changed by the end of the evening). But of course, from our front row location, my group was in a position to make several requests. He was kind enough to play "The Man From Out of Town", "Off-White", and "Birches" at our request. (I know, he probably would have played "Birches" anyway)
Midway through "Morrissey Falls In Love" from the first album he forgot the lyrics, but was able to neatly segue his way out.
After "Birches", Bill thanked the crowd and retired to the curtained area to the right of the stage. Seegar, who also doubled that evening as the sound man, took the stage and stated what a truly special honor it was to have Bill that evening. Apparently, Seegar and Bill are both fly fisherman. Seegar's grandfather had years ago edited one of the classic volumes on fly fishing, and had taught Seegar to tie a unique and rare fly called the (I think) "Pete Gordon". He called Bill back out and presented him with a "Pete Gordon" that he had tied especially for Bill.
As Bill prepared to do one more song, my wife Janet, quietly requested "These Cold Fingers". Bill hesitated, then nodded his head and began retuning his guitar. A particularly heartfelt version of "These Cold Fingers" followed.
Afterwards, we got the chance to talk to Bill. As he signed our copy of "Edson" (he had copies there for sale with him), Janet thanked him for performing our requests, especially "These Cold Fingers". He said he had originally planned to play Handsome Molly. He acknowledged that his father had passed away this summer and that the song was difficult for him to perform. Janet, of course, felt bad upon hearing this, but Bill said not to worry, "I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think I couldn't".
I asked Bill about a new album. He said he was currently working on his next book, and that it would probably come first. He wouldn't give a date, but suggested sometime next year on the book. He did say that he had produced an album for Peter Keane in Austin this past February.
Thanks to Seegar and the people at the Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music, and thanks to Bill for a great evening.