Bill Morrissey has been a singing and songwriting fixture in New England since the 70’s. Born in Hartford and a resident of New Hampshire for many years, an early love of rural blues and country music combined to shape his musical style. One artist who keenly influenced him in particular was bluesman Mississippi John Hurt, whose guitar playing and plantation tales shook Morrissey to the core. Later in his career he recorded an entire album tribute to that blues giant, with 1999’s Songs of Mississippi John Hurt. Like the legendary Hurt, Morrissey has a knack for simple storytelling and a discreet musical delivery most often with just voice and a guitar. His subjects range from New England mill towns and logging camps to local drunks and misfits, and his songs express great detail and an ever-present social commentary. Since his first effort in 1984, Morrissey has produced a steady output of albums, most on the Philo/Rounder label. Two even received Grammy nominations. Although a firm stalwart of the folk music camp, Morrissey stepped out of the mold on his 2007 releaseCome Running, which was produced by Billy Conway of Morphine and featured musical backing from members of that band as well as Dave Alvin of Blasters fame. He is now a successful novelist as well, completing books he painstakingly wrote while never slackening his tour schedule filled with folk-fest and coffee shop appearances across the country.
(by Carter Alan)
Published on December 28, 2012