Sunday, March 14, 2010

Still Bill: New Bill Withers Documentary

Sasha Frere-Jones has a write up in The New Yorker

In 1972, a year after the release of his first album, “Just As I Am,” Bill Withers performed a song on British television. “Harlem,” the record’s first single, had done little on the charts, but radio d.j.s had picked up on its B-side. Wearing a ribbed orange turtleneck and sweating visibly, the thirty-three-year-old rookie introduced the first song he had ever written:

“Men have problems admitting to losing things,” he said. “I think women are much better at that. . . . So, once in my life, I wanted to forgo my own male ego and admit to losing something, so I came up with—” Withers began to play his acoustic guitar and sing. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone / It’s not warm when she’s away / Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone / And she’s always gone too long, any time she goes away.”

“Ain’t No Sunshine” gave Withers his first gold record, earned him a Grammy, and, with later hits such as “Lean on Me” and “Use Me,” forms the cornerstone of a small but indispensable section of the American songbook. A new documentary about Withers, “Still Bill,” is an unshowy, confident attempt to render the personality of a man who wrote so well and then walked away, in 1985, adding only a handful of songs to his legacy since then.

Read the full review HERE.

Here is a local W. Virginia TV story on Whithers' induction into the West Virginia music Hall of Fame, with lots of interview time with him:

Withers' website is HERE.

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