Bill knew Vance and was familiar with Vance from the music scene in Boston.
Connect with Vance on his website, Vance Gilbert
Bill by Vance Gilbert (written July 24, 2011)
Simply the greatest storyteller I’ve ever known. An old friend and towering source of inspiration. His songs were like snapshots - little moments of time captured in lyric and melody, the sums of which were always so much greater than the parts, always affecting, always leaving a crease diagonally across your heart.
Oh, and as his voice was an always perfect combination of dirty fishtank gravel and acetone, his guitar playing and time keeping were both unheralded, unnoticed, like any perfect singer songwriter’s.
I’m certain that the irony isn’t lost on him, wherever he is, that he and soul/pop powerhouse Amy Winehouse should die on the same day. I can hear his droll telling of the story, with its pregnant breaks, and see his sideways glance up from the microphone at the audience, maybe saying that even though they were from different sides of the musical tracks, “We’re both the most soulful people I know...” In my musical book he’d be right on the money.
Despite her high profile self-abuse, I loved what she did musically. She was the singer from another planet, an immense interpreter of styles, and the possessor of the most incredible of instruments.
I believe we deal with losses like these by thinking, of course, of the departed’s loved ones and how they might fare, but the truth is, we eventually get to thinking about ourselves, wondering “Where am I in all of this?”
Well, if each time my pen went to the page I was to write “Birches”, and each time I was to open my mouth I was to sing like anything on “Back To Black”, then I will have considered myself to have fully arrived - making my stay on, and my eventual departure from this planet, really quite worth it all.
RIP, both of you.