BILL MORRISSEY
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MORRISSEY


BILL MORRISSEY died unexpectedly on July 23rd in Dalton, GA while on a performance tour. He was born November 25, 1951 in Hartford, CT to Marion E. Morrissey (Cwikla) of Lansdale, PA and the late Joseph P. Morrissey. In addition to his mother Bill leaves behind two brothers Joseph P. Morrissey, Jr. and his wife Janet of Medford, NJ, Thomas J. Morrissey and his wife Lori of Harleysville, PA, as well as 3 nieces, Kate Miller, Colleen Fitzgerald, Erin Morrissey and one nephew Patrick Morrissey. Funeral arrangements are private. A contribution in Bill Morrissey's name may be sent to: MusicCares Foundation, 3030 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404.

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Published in Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News on Jul. 27, 2011.
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71 entries
July 21, 2020
Knowing a person only through his music, and missing him so badly, seems strange to me some days. Why do I still cry when Im driving down the road singing along? Bill, hook up with John Prine and sing When I Get To Heaven with him.
Annette Gustafson
November 25, 2018
I remember Bill Morrissey when he played at Plymouth State College with Cormac McCarthy Russ Washburn! He and I were in the same class at PSC. We met around 1970 through a common friend, Cheryl Rossoll. I remember a party in particular held near Stimson Lake. And I temember him playing at a small little cafe in Plymouth on Main St. which used to be known as the "freak house"....a commune or sorts.
Mardi McGregor
Classmate
May 2, 2012
For some reason Bill came to mind this evening. I Googled him and sadly learned of his passing. Then I spent hours listening to his words and music. So many emotions stirred.

I met Bill over 30 years ago at Smith Brother's Pub in Dover, New Hampshire during one of his gigs. I was a 19 year-old UNH undergrad. At a break I told Bill I played blues harp and wondered if he would let me jam with him. His eyes lit up and and he replied, "Sure!" I told him I did not have a harp with me and he said, "Grab one of mine." We played "Shanty", a Jonathan Edwards tune. The crowd loved it.

He was so welcoming, kind and easy going. I found him to be a common man's man. He was a great conversationalist. We chatted about music, growing up near the tannery, the political climate in New Hampshire and many thought provoking topics during his breaks throughout the night.

At the time, "Live Free or Die" was a hit in New Hampshire. It was also a time protests were taking place in Seabrook, New Hampshire over the construction of a nuclear plant located there. The song was a major part of the movement against the plant.

At the time, Bill inserted another verse in the song that took on then conservative governor Meldrim Thomson and Union Leader editor-owner William Loeb, supporters of the construction of the plant.

I admire Bill for his kinship with fellow human beings and environmental advocacy through music.

For that fleeting moment in time, way back when in Dover, Bill had a profound impact on my life and for that I am grateful.

God Bless You Bill!
Lou Goscinski
April 13, 2012
Bill, sorry to hear of your passing. I knew you back at P.S.C. (Plymouth State College) in the very early 1970's. We had a common friend, Shawn Costello. Enjoyed your music when you played together in Room 202 of Blair Hall. Ernie Bjork
April 13, 2012
I knew Bill from ABRHS (High School). The last time we met in the mid 70's he played the Hokey Pokey for two friends of mine. He was a generous man, great sense of humor and lived the dream that music is. Dave B.
March 10, 2012
I met Bill in 1976 in Texas, while hitchhiking back from California with my girlfriend and her dog; Bill was hitchhiking back from a failed fishing venture in Ketchikan, Alaska along with a guy who turned out to be his bass player. Bill didn't have a guitar with him, but luckily the driver of the van did, and Bill entertained us all with music, stories, and humor for many hours. Bill was heading to New England to begin (or resume) his career as a musician...we were eventually headed to New England, too. When we parted ways in Oklahoma I told Bill of a small place in Brattleboro VT where he might find a gig. About six months later, Bill opened up there for the New England Bluegrass Boys during a raging blizzard. Because of the weather, the crowd was limited to the two bands (Bill had a quartet), me and my date. We had a raucous private party; the next night there was a full house and a great show. I've followed Bill's career ever since and have seen and spoken to him several times since then. Bill will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. - Ken Scarlatelli, Catonsville, MD
March 6, 2012
I remember him when I was starting on my own musical journey in Newmarket NH. What a time and place to grow up. Thanks for setting the bar (and bar stools) where you did.
Chuck Farrell
March 5, 2012
Tom Morrissey
Always keep his legacy going,
I was never able to see him in person,
but his music will live forever.
Michael Muir
March 2, 2012
I just googled Bill and found out he was gone. I am so sorry. Saw him in Virginia what a treat. He signed his book for me. I will cherish it. Sicerely, Susan Landmark
Susan Landmark
February 25, 2012
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to add a message here. It makes my heart feel good. I am so proud of my brother for not only his music but for being a good guy. He was so appreciative of the folks that came to his shows and listened to his music. I miss him everyday. Thanks very much for your kind words.
--
Tom Morrissey

P.S. So great to hear from you Erin. Thank you for your message. I wish your family well. What a nice surprise.
February 14, 2012
I saw Bill listed on the Grammy page too. So saddened by this tremendous loss to American music. .
WC Dauster, Oakland, NJ
February 13, 2012
During the tribute last night, I saw Bill's name on the page during the remembrance section of the show. We will always miss you dear friend.
David Hawley
February 12, 2012
Just learned from the Grammy Awards program that Bill had passed. Stunned and hurt. You were one of my favorites, Bill.

Goody-bye, Papa, good-bye.
Buck Morgan
January 27, 2012
Loved his upbeat view of the world and quick way about him to make you (and himself) smile. A true poet and artist, he touched my soul. I also learned to love the sweet smell of unseasoned firewood, sometimes out of desperation, but mostly during good times...I'll continue to throw a green one on the fire in your honor, Bill...
Tom Ziegler
January 7, 2012
January 07, 2012
To Tom Morrissey, Providence College 1979
Although it has been - incredibly - over 31 years since we last spoke or wrote when we were both in or located outside of D.C. (before computers existed), I hope somehow this message will be transmitted and received by you and your family. I cannot explain how random and mysterious life is, and how it leads us unexpectedly to places such as this site and this sad news, but I hope that somehow, sometime you will read this message and instantly recognize who sent it. I am so, so sorry to read about Billy (as you referred to him), as he was all you talked about during our time together at P.C.: how proudly you spoke of Billy and his music, and how in awe you were of him and his gift, and although he was so very different from you and your family, how you accepted his differences unconditionally with tremendous grace and love. Please except my family's deepest sympathy and love to you and your family -- all six of us -- yes, I had four wonderful, incredible children since we last spoke when I was pregnant with my first child in 1986. We are wishing you and your family unending happiness and health, and hope some day to speak to you in person again. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your great loss. In spite of all, be well, and happy, dear friend -- from "Amy what you wanna do." (Pure Prairie League).
January 7, 2012
To Tom Morrissey, Providence College 1979
Although it has been - incredibly - over 31 years since we last spoke or wrote when we were both in or located outside of D.C. (before computers existed), I hope somehow this message will be transmitted and received by you and your family. I cannot explain how random and mysterious life is, and how it leads us unexpectedly to places such as this site and this sad news, but I hope that somehow, sometime you will read this message and instantly recognize who sent it. I am so, so sorry to read about Billy (as you referred to him), as he was all you talked about during our time together at P.C.: how proudly you spoke of Billy and his music, and how in awe you were of him and his gift, and although he was so very different from you and your family, how you accepted his differences unconditionally with tremendous grace and love. Please except my family's deepest sympathy and love to you and your family -- all six of us -- yes, I had four wonderful, incredible children since we last spoke when I was pregnant with my first child in 1986. We are wishing you and your family unending happiness and health, and hope some day to speak to you in person again. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your great loss. In spite of all, be well, and happy, dear friend -- from "Amy what you wanna do." (Pure Prairie League).
December 24, 2011
One of my absolute favorite artists. His lyrics, music and especially his voice will be long remembered. Thanks for so many memorable songs.

RDPeterson, PhD
December 6, 2011
I 1st saw bill @ the Old Vienna coffe house in Mass 1991.After that show I had a new freind. Bill's story was very close to my own,I've lived in New england,born in the early 50's, worked in the mills, married & lived in Phila & back to new england. The last time I spoke to Bill @ the Tin Angel in Phila, I told him my wife & I always listened to his albums @ night & would meditate of to sleep on the visions of his songs. So with a smile from Bill that is unforgettable & a final hand shake. See you in the morning.
Lots of Love & Light
Pam & Rich Carroll
Bacocho, Mexico
Rich Carroll
November 12, 2011
i'll lay down 4 big logs of birches in the fireplace tonight and remember a champion songwriter that has been a constant companion for me. the music will outlive us all. do rest in peace... and thank you for all the music you recorded.
stig slaattun
November 3, 2011
Bill was a wonderful story teller with a wonderful with and view on what was around him. How he will be missed. We're all less for his loss.
JIm McCamphill
October 28, 2011
Bill,

Ta musique m'accompagnera pour toujours....

Repose en paix.
Raynald Beaupré
October 18, 2011
Michael Muir
October 17, 2011
Bill was a poet and who spoke for the mill towns of New England, the hopes and dreams of the inhabitants and the hard romanticism of love won and lost. RIP Bill, you will be missed. Laura P., Nashville, TN.
Laura Powers
October 5, 2011
Bill Morrissey was a folk music genius; full of heart and sadness, fun and creativity. His music is totally original; there is no one like him. His lyrics are beautiful, unique, provocative, amazing in the pictures they paint. He was an amazing observer and commentator on life, relationships, nature and he sang about our lives-- all of us.

David Giber Belmont MA
David Giber
October 2, 2011
I only knew Bill through his music, and writing...what an incredible person he must have been...It is a privilege to have lived in his time, and gotten to share in his gifts....Thanks Bill...thanks.
Stephen Kirby
September 22, 2011
I was just introduced to Bill's music this week. Such a loss. Bye Bill.
Jeff Loeber
September 10, 2011
my condolences to bill,s family , i have been listening to bill for over 30 years first hearing him on wpkn, being a connecticut native i loved his music and his lyrics, his music has always gotten me through tough times in my life, i am so saddened at his passing and he will be dearly missed
michael
August 31, 2011
For Bill's family--I hope it has been of some comfort to know how many people were touched by Bill and his songs. Even after weeks have gone by I still don't know where to start. I have known Bill and loved his songs since the 70's in Newmarket, NH and have followed him ever since. Now that the shock has subsided a bit I have been able to laugh remembering so many funny times and stories. He packed so much into his too short time on this earth. We will miss him but still have his words and music.
Debra
August 27, 2011
Our condolences to Bills Family, We loved him and his music, we saw him in RI..We were lucky to get an autographed cd and two books from him.. He will always live on in our hearts.
The Carroll's
August 27, 2011
Dear Family. I check Bill's website every once in a while to see if he'll be in my neck of the woods any time soon. My shock and sadness today to read of his passing. I'll never forget the smile he gave me during intermission at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A memory I'll relive every time I listen to his music. I'm so sad..
Annette G
August 24, 2011
Could not believe this when I heard it. Will NEVER forget the grin on my face when I first heard such wonders as "A Married Man" and lines like "It's too scary here in February dear, Set my snooze alrm for May." Very sorry to hear.
Rick
August 21, 2011
May the Morrissey family know that Bill touched many of us right in the heart for a long time. His gentle way and his talent for words and music have been a part of my life. Please take comfort in the large influence he has made on all of us. Rest in peace.
Doug Campbell
August 19, 2011
Thank you for the nights, the days
your music and words,
carried me through..
Wendy B,
August 17, 2011
Okay, so I've been faitfully reading these entries and it's time to add my thoughts. I lived in Newmarket at the time that Bill emerged as our local folk hero along with Cormac, Sammie, and so many others. While he has written so many great songs over the years, Small Town on the River continues to be the one that tugs at my heartstrings. It brings me back to a time of growth and change in my life. But it also makes me think of the hayday of music in the NH Seacoast when we were blessed to have so, so many amazing musicians, both solo performers and bands, offering all genres of quality live music. Bill went on to become one of the most successful and I followed and bought his music over the years, introducing him to my son, who also enjoyed and respected him. Although Bill hasn't lived in the Seacoast for years, he was a part of us and it is sad that he won't grace the stage of the Stone Church anymore. Rest in Peace, Bill and thank you for the tunes.
Pam Kirby
August 17, 2011
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Timothy M. Tierney
August 15, 2011
Bill I just discovered you last year when I was looking for folk singers to build up my cd library. You were more then a folk singer. Your songs said so much about who we are as human beings Your words and music crawled into my heart and will always be there. many of nights I stay up through the night listening to you and it brings me to a deep place. You were truely the best at what you do. Your song writing craft was down to earth that lifted off the ground to a higher place. I always wanted to see you perform,sadly this wont happen. We lost a true folk hero who knew us more then we know ourselves. You will be missed but not forgotten. Peace to your family and to all of us you left behind. Thanks Bill.
peter dame
August 11, 2011
Bill, anything I'd say would only echo the many others so clearly touched by you and your music. Your humility and graciousness belied your incredible talents. I remember saying, many years back, while listening to "Birches", "now that's a perfect song...it could make angels cry." But so many of your tunes struck me that way. And yes, I will miss your earthly presence even though you left us so many treasures to enjoy. The albums and book you autographed are my own treasures.
Roger Hoffmann
August 11, 2011
Bill was an amazing performer and person. Although I had not seen Billy in many years he was always kind, warm and a great sense of humor. My heart goes out to his family, friends and fans.
Dorothy Prozialeck Round
August 10, 2011
Bill had a special voice and he was a special songwriter and a very good guitarist. I think that the world of music has lost an important part. I am sure that now he is playing and singing in a special place. Ciao Bill from an italian fan. Nicola Sansalone (Genova, Italy)
nicola sansalone
August 7, 2011
July 9, 2011
I saw Bill for the first (and now only) time at a house concert in Virginia on July 9 (see picture). Got to talk to him a bit before and after his performance. A very nice guy, and a great singer/songwriter who will be sorely missed. RIP, Bill.
Robin Strauss
August 6, 2011
Here's to short casts in deep pools and reel spinning strikes. You are missed.
Steve
August 6, 2011
So sorry, Bill.
Anne Freeman
August 5, 2011
I have this one CD from Bill; listening to it right now. My brother-in-law suggested it to me. I have listened to it for years and rue the fact I never got out to see and hear him perform. That one piece has had a profound influence on my existence. Sorry to see you go. I will keep on playing your music. Peace.
craig charron
August 3, 2011
I heard Bill Morrissey song on the radio yesterday...and made a mental note to bring out a few cd's to listen again. I have been a long time fan. Today I was checking the Prescott Park lineup and read via Shawn Colvin's fb page that Bill had died. Sorry the hear the news of this special artist passing.
Gary Campbell
August 3, 2011
It was too soon Bill
Mike Morrissey
August 3, 2011
While I did not know him personally, I feel as though I did through his music and his gentle voice. He touched me and will live on through his songs. May he find true peace.
Marie T
Palm Harbor
August 2, 2011
I remember hearing Bill at the River Traffic, Stone Church, Press Room, and other venues. He was part of the culture of the Seacoast, but he was also much more. He will be missed.
August 2, 2011
It was Bill, more than any other musician, that showed me the power of one guy and his guitar. A great writer and storyteller, whose wonderful guitar work perfectly suited his songs. He was always happy to chat after shows. I am deeply sorry to hear of his death.
Dan Piper
August 2, 2011
A true loss not only to his family but to those of us who enjoyed and admired his music. Safe Home Bill
Bob Farrell
August 1, 2011
miss you so much. LOVED your work.
August 1, 2011
Although I never knew him personally, I knew him through his music. I am certain he is doing fine now. I truly wish the best of wishes for all of his family (biological and otherwise) and pray that we will all be grateful for the ways he blest our lives.
David Hawley
July 31, 2011
Bill,
I hope you're dancing up a storm with Patsy Kline! Say Hi to Roberto Johnson for me will you?
You will be missed but your music will live on. Thanks for all of it my friend!
Louise Townsend Stowe, VT
Louise Townsend
July 31, 2011
I met Morrissey when I lived across the street from the Stone Church in Newmarket N.H. in 1975. He was an amazing songwriter, musician and remained my long distance friend over the years. This is a great loss. I will miss his wry smile and his unique viewpoint about life. Dr. Deah Schwartz, Oakland, CA
Deah Schwartz
July 31, 2011
There is no one in my vast collection of folk, rock and blues music that I enjoy listening to more than your music, Bill. The world has lost a true "one in a million" storyteller, humorist, musician. I am sad that I won't hear you here again. I'll play your songs, but I'll never be able to deliver them with the stories you were able to tell.
dave therrien
July 30, 2011
I have wonderful memories of Bill Morrissey and his lovely Mother. As a radio broadcaster specializing in Folk Music, Bill was at the very top of his profession. I fell in love with his writing, his unique voice and the humanity and caring that you could just feel in his music. We lost a real American hero--as far as I'm concerned, and I will never forget how much he meant to the American music scene. My sincere condolences to Marion, and all his family. Gene Shay, WXPN, Philadelphia.
July 30, 2011
I first saw Bill play when I was at a Tom Rush concert in Lowell memorial auditorium (Mass.) I was immediately hooked! I've met Bill several times and found him to be friendly, personable, and kind- how many performers would actually talk to you after a concert and be genuinely interested? My favorite songs are "Birches" "Small town by the river" and "Barstow" - but then again I love all of Bill's work. God bless you Bill
Jody Noller
July 30, 2011
I first saw Bill when I attended a Tom Rush concert around 1991. Bill has always been a good friend to me and I will miss him very much. He is one of the few musicians who you could approach after a concert and he would talk to you for awhile and be truly interested in what you had to say.
My favorite songs by Bill are "Small Town on the River" "Barstow" "Birches" and basically everything he ever did. What a fine guitarist he was too. I will miss you very very much Bill. May God Bless you - Take care. Your friend Jody Noller
Jody Noller
July 30, 2011
I was so sad when I heard this news yesterday. Bill played with Cormac and Driveway Wilson at my 21st birthday party at the Eagles in Newmarket in 1978. He was such a major part of that town in those day and such a large part of my memories. He will be truly missed. He had an impact.
July 30, 2011
Whenever I heard your music, it made me stop, listen and relax. Thank you.
July 30, 2011
Bill was an inspiration and will be sorely missed not to mention he sure could make me laugh!
Tom Pirozzoli
July 30, 2011
Saddest news I have heard this year . Bill's musical poetry shone through in his songs and i sure am going to miss him god bless him
Andy Young (Guildford ,Surrey ,England )
Andrew Young
July 29, 2011
Bill-how sad we are that you are gone. You have left a great legacy of music, literature, kindness, wit and humility. I am so sorry that I will never see you perform in your oh so talented, funny, self-effacing way. God Speed and good fishing.
Lianne B
July 29, 2011
I was Billy's Mechanic when he lived in Maynard Ma.he talked to me about how he first started in the music business he was a great friend. God Bless you Billy
Bob Collins
July 29, 2011
Our condolences to the entire Morrissey family. Bill was very fortunate to have the family that he has. We will keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers.
John & Madeline Kohler
July 29, 2011
Oh Bill, Why so soon. Remember the nights of fun at River Traffic , The Press Room and the Stone Church with Cormac and Sammie. Entertain them all up there as you did down here Bill. Nelson of Kittery
N. L.
July 29, 2011
though i had only met my cousin bill a few times i will miss him. i will miss his smile and music the most.
Kelly Morrissey
July 28, 2011
I opened for Bill once. Such an honor. But you know what? The 30 minutes we chatted backstage was amazing. He taught me about gracious, humility. We talked about fly fishing. My world is different today. There is a void. His music spoke to me.....stoke the fire with oak...good bye Bill....Jeff
jeff king
July 28, 2011
Bill was the writers' songwriter: Perceptive, playful and often flat-out brilliant. He connected with his audiences as deeply as he connected with the pained characters in his songs. I'm sad beyond words to learn of his passing. Too soon, too soon.
Steve Varnum
July 27, 2011
Dear Morrissey family, Please accept my condolences for the loss of Bill, a very talented man. His legacy will live on forever in the beautiful catalog of work he left behind. His song Birches is absolutely one of my favorite songs. He will be missed.
July 27, 2011
We talked about Bill and played his music on our radio show tonight - hope lots of people continue to play and listen to his music, and be influenced and moved by his great songwriting!
Barbara & Graham Dean
Barbara Dean
July 27, 2011
God Bless I Loved your Music. Pick in Heaven
Michael Muir
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