I would love to introduce a “spotlight” feature from time to time if no one minds. “Great music should be considered timeless, but those who have never experienced certain artists due to generation gaps in music are often cheated.” Some people only listen to certain radio stations that only “play” certain artists. While a lot of those artists are great to hear, there are so many others out there who you may never have experienced, only to realize that great music is not limited to only one station or one era. I began to realize this when I started playing (and listening to) some classic Jimi Hendrix material. Up to this time, I never realized just how great he was. With that being said, today I would love to submit to you an artist that I actually had the pleasure of performing for. I consider him to be one of the last pioneers for “clean music with feeling” and when he left the music scene we all lost out. The man I am referring to is the legendary “Bill Withers.” For those of you who are “not” familiar with him, he had great tunes such as “Lean on Me, Who is he (and what is he to you), Use me, Lovely Day, Just the Two of Us (with Grover Washington Jr.,) I want to spend the night and Hello like before (to only name a few).” The beautiful thing about his music was that his lyrics were simple and yet meaningful with power. You could actually “feel” the topics he sang about. He didn’t have a great range in his voice (he didn’t need to). He was a “true artist” in that he sang and wrote “what he felt.” He was big back in the 1970’s and now he is retired from music. Now over 70 years of age, Bill should be considered a “legend.” When I worked with him, I had the opportunity to actually sit down and talk with this man for a long time and I took in every word he said. He told me that he had to get out of the music business because it was “no longer any fun.” He said the direction of music started to go down in quality and he realized that he “just didn’t want any part of that anymore.” He said that he has no regrets about his decision to get out and he is doing fine. He told me that his management wanted to portray him as a great guitar player (On the cover of one of his albums there is a picture of him holding the guitar). He said the truth of the matter is that he “didn’t know how to play guitar,” so they had to bring in a specialist to show him a couple of chords to play. He only learned a few, but he managed to make the most of those chords. He used them to write a song entitled “Hello like before,” a hit that has an incredibly beautiful sentiment to it. If you can, I invite you to Google this song and listen to it for yourself. While you are at it, you might want to check out the other songs that I previously mentioned. As new generations come and go, a lot of art gets “pushed back” and lost into oblivion. Bill Wither’s music is considered to be the last of its kind, and I feel it should be preserved (which is why I am spotlighting him today). A “true” artist is someone who performs, sings and writes according to what he or she feels. Bill Withers was a true artist. I also realize that one man’s music can be another man’s misery. Just because I happen to love the music of Bill Withers doesn’t mean that everyone else will. However, if you are into “music with expression, feeling and a nice groove to match it all” then I invite you to Google his name and listen to his tracks. Also, if you have an artist that you would like me to review, then by all means submit the artist to me. I feel that great music doesn’t have to be “limited” to “what they are playing today.” I am hoping to keep the legends alive (and I will review new and upcoming artists as well), even as the styles, fashions and genres move on. No matter what style of music, if it is good then I would love to “feature it.” Thank you very much, and I hope that you have a beautiful and serene day.
Bill Withers (to the left with grey hair) his daughter and Anthony Hamilton with Brett Jolly at PIR studios