A Fond Goodbye to Bill Staines

Each year, we would keep the second and third weeks in October open when we knew, like clockwork, Bill Staines would turn his annual Fall tour towards the Pacific Northwest. Over the past twenty years or so, we frequently had the opportunity to open for and sing with Bill on the October portion of his annual tour.  We had the honor of joining Bill Staines for his final Seattle Folklore Society concert on October 16, 2021.

On that October evening, we pulled into the parking lot at the Phinney Center Concert Hall in Seattle, WA right after Bill did and though we hadn’t seen each other since our show together in Corvallis in October of 2019, it felt like no time had passed. For so many musicians, performances and touring came to a halt when the Covid-19 pandemic blanketed the world and that was true for Bill and for us. This was his first tour in two years and our first performance for a live audience in as many years. He laughed when he said, “I hope I can still do this, guys!” and we were sure hoping we could too!

When we talked to Bill in the green room prior to the concert, it was clear he was not feeling well. What he, and we, didn’t know was how sick he actually was when he did the concert that night. We didn’t know it would be the last time we would see Bill and the last time we would sing together with him at the end of his concert.  Not long after this concert, Bill had to return home, cutting short his tour. On December 5, 2021, only seven weeks after the Seattle concert, Bill passed away from cancer.

We are so grateful to the Seattle Folklore Society, sound technician, Brandon Hunter and live stream technician, Brian Lindsay for the wonderful video of the end of the concert when the three of us shared the stage, one last time.

YouTube player
Carleen, Bill and Mike on October 16, 2021