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Old Dogs

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Album Review

Bill Staines has been singing and writing first-rate songs for most of his life and while many A-list country and folk artists have cut his tunes, he still remains largely unknown outside of folk circles. Old Dogs probably won't change that, but it's another excellent album full of finely crafted songs and well chosen covers that showcase Staines' beautiful high tenor and understated fingerpicking. Staines isn't a singer who bowls you over, but his comforting vocals and melancholy melodies slowly insinuate themselves into your heart and leave you feeling warm and comfy, like an old friend who always shows up with good stories and a bottle of wine. "The Heavens and the Years" is a solemn meditation on aging, with Staines' stately piano and subtle churchy organ adding to the song's sanctified feel. "Old Dogs" sings the praises of a life well lived, with humor and compassion, "Savannah" is an ode to a beautiful aging city with a quiet bluegrass arrangement to augment Staines' tranquil vocals and the gracious Southern poetry of the lyric. "Once We Walked" is a poignant song about a long marriage that's weathered time to bind two souls ever closer together. It's the most affecting song on the album marked by Staines' intimate vocal, quiet soulful and profound. Staines also has a winning way with covers. "Cotton Pickin'" is a charming medley of Elizabeth Cotten's "Freight Train" and "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie." Guy Clark's "Lone Star Hotel Café," the tale of a romance that never quite happened, is given a quiet arrangement full of subtle fiddle and dobro, and John Stewart's "Cody," a song about a homeless musician with mental problems, is given a simple poignant reading. The songs here are all about aging and the specter of mortality that hangs over us all, but Staines doesn't wax too nostalgic about the good old days. His ability to accept life's changes and limitations, and his belief in a better tomorrow, makes every tune here shimmer with faith and compassion. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Everybody Check out "Old Dogs"!

For a folk musician that's been around for over 30 years, and has recorded over two dozen CDs, I will honestly say that this is my fathers best record to date - the guitar work on the title track is especially beautiful. Do yourselves a favor and also be sure to check out "Cody" and "Great Dream from Heaven" - those are my favorites.

The Best

I agree with my pal Bowen. This is some of his dad's best work--I challenge anyone to listen to "Old Dogs" and not get a little teary-eyed, to hear "Savannah" and not imagine you're there. Bill is blessed with such a soothing, clear voice and the songs on this album are perfect stages for him to showcase his gift. To those of you who haven't seen him in concert, I highly reccommend it. An incredible musician, wonderful performer, witty and humorous man and a great friend.

Old Dogs

Bill Staines is one of the best folk artists out there. I have all his albums and this one lives up to all my expectations for great folk music. I wish I had known it was out earlier...GREAT!!!


Born: February 6, 1947 in Medford, MA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The American landscape has been a major theme for New Hampshire-based singer/songwriter Bill Staines. His songs have captured the beauty of rivers, mountains, and the open space of the American West. Staines' ability to write songs that seem like traditional folk songs has made him a favorite source of new material. His original tunes, including "The Roseville Fair," "River," "Wild, Wild Heart," "Yellowstone Winds," and "A Place in the Choir (All God's Critters)," have been covered by such artists...
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Old Dogs, Bill Staines
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Customer Ratings