Arts Blog

Quintessential folk troubadour Bill Staines to perform at Carleton

February 15, 2018

Internationally acclaimed Americana artist Bill Staines will perform in concert on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. in the Applebaum Recital Hall of Carleton College’s Weitz Center for Creativity. With a career spanning five decades, Staines is considered the quintessential folk troubadour, singing his songs at the country’s top festivals, concerts, clubs and coffeehouses.

An intimate and compelling performer who launched his career as part of the legendary New England folk scene of the 1960s, Staines remains one of the most beloved singers on the folk music scene today. His music is a slice of Americana, filled with cowboys, Yukon adventures, fisherman and everyday working people. He writes lovely, infectious melodies, and his story-filled lyrics recall with compassion and depth the landscapes and characters he’s known.

“I have always wanted to bring something of value to people with my songs,” he says. “I think that is important, to try to write beyond myself, to write to the great things that we all experience in our lives.” For Staines, that is what folk music is all about: a music rich in the human experience and spirit.

Staines has twenty-six recordings to his credit and has written over three hundred songs, many of which have been recorded by the likes of Peter, Paul, and Mary; Makem and Clancy; Nanci Griffith; Glen Yarborough; and Jerry Jeff Walker. His music is sung at campfires and folk music gatherings, in homes and churches, all around the country. Songs like “All God’s Critters,” “The Roseville Fair,” “Child of Mine,” and “River,” have become folk music classics. Composer David Amram once described Staines as “a modern day Stephen Foster. His music will be around a hundred years from now.”

Staines has recorded two children’s albums, The Happy Wanderer and One More River, both of which have won the coveted Parents’ Choice Award. His music has appeared in a number of films, including the HBO series, Deadwood; Return of the Secaucus Seven, John Sayles’ first endeavor as a director; and Off and Running with Cyndi Lauper. He has made numerous radio and television appearances and, during its early years, was a frequent performer on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion Show.”

Staines has released two songbooks: If I Were a Word, Then I’d be a Song published by Folk Legacy and Music to Me published by Hal Leonard Corp. An illustrated book of his songs All God’s Critters was published in 2009 by Simon and Schuster, and his memoir, The Tour, was released in 2003. More on his website.

This event is free and open to the public. Staines will present two 45-minutes sets, one at 8 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m. The Applebaum Recital Hall is located in the Weitz Center for Creativity, 320 Third Street East in Northfield. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4475.