BILL STAINES CONCERT Saturday, February 6, 2010, 8 pm Hollis Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell Arts Quad
What is it about this graying, bespectacled performer with an odd left-handed guitar technique that fills the hall every time he comes to Ithaca? Perhaps it’s the chance to sing along with gusto on lots of fine choruses. Perhaps it’s his gentle presence and wry good humor. Perhaps his songs engage us with a ring of truth and the warmth of familiarity. Whatever it is, the Cornell Folk Song Society is pleased to welcome again this old friend.
For more than 40 years, Bill Staines has roamed the roads, bringing his memorable, chorus-rich songs to audiences from Alaska to New Hampshire. He sings so convincingly of the West, small towns, and open spaces that one might think he was once a cowboy (he yodels) rather than an old New Englander. His originals, such as “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir” (a hit from summer camps to Carnegie Hall) and songs of hard-working prairie farmers, truckers, and bush pilots, are part of the folk lexicon and are often miscredited to “Traditional.” David Amram calls Bill Staines “A modern-day Stephen Foster…his song will be around 100 years from now.”
Tickets: Ludgate Farms, Ithaca Guitar Works, GreenStar, Bound for Glory, online http://www.cornellfolksong.org/ $15 advance/$17 door; $3 rebate for members, seniors, teens; children free. Cornell students $10/$12. Info: 607-279-2027 or website.