Looking for the Wind

Bill Staines

(RHR 79)
Red House Records

A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Bob Rose

LOOKING FOR THE WIND by Bill Staines has the eternal air of a classic recording that you've listened to dozens of times over the years. This is, however, a new effort by one of folk music's most enduring legends.

The songs are immediately likable and interesting. Singing in the classic storyteller tradition, all the songs are compelling narratives. LOOKING FOR THE WIND is more than just individual stories. It is the collected tales of flight, freedom, and individual expression - these are the dreams we dream. Each song somehow weaves a little more fabric into the cloth until, by the end, there's a tapestry of feelings and expression.

The very first song, "Every Long Journey," starts with these prophetic words, "Every Long Journey is made of small steps." Each song is a wonderful step along the journey!

As he takes us on this journey we're always firmly planted on the ground. Bill sings with such direct simplicity and calm intensity that we never feel pulled too fast. We're just taking a gentle stroll through the forest here, but when we get to a clearing, there's always something to see!

Most of the songs here are covers, but they all sound very much like Staine's own creations. There is not a step out of place! A good example is his version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain." This is a sad and lonesome song that tells the story of someone being left on the ground when he wants to move on. In some ways it's a subtle indictment of the complexities and difficulties of living in the modern world.

As we can expect from such a master storyteller, the final song, "Only Remembered" is about death, rebirth, and remembrances. "Only remembered for what we have done" he sings, as if to say, "Go do something, try to accomplish what's in your heart, you'll be remembered for it."

I'll remember this music for a long time and will try to keep it in my heart as I walk along my own journey. Thanks Bill, it's been a pleasure traveling with you!

Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior written permission and attribution.

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