Beginning in the mid-'80s, Bill Morrissey released a series of albums of original songs that startled and delighted the following he built up touring around the Northeast.
By his second LP, North, he'd been picked up by the Philo division of Rounder Records. Morrissey sang in a surprisingly flexible, deep voice (somewhat reminiscent of Leon Redbone's croak, but more supple). His songs were full of humor and pathos, expressed in keenly observed details about small-town life, sometimes desperate, sometimes hopeful, but always presented in new, unexpected ways on releases including 1989's Standing Eight, 1992's Inside, 1994's Night Train, and 1996's You'll Never Get to Heaven. Something I Saw or Thought I Saw continued that tradition in 2001. He was nominated twice for Grammy Awards, for his 1993 collaboration with Greg Brown, Friend of Mine, and his 1999 album, Songs of Mississippi John Hurt. Morrissey was also a novelist. His first book, Edson, was published in 1996. His final recording, Come Running, was issued on the Turn and Spin imprint in 2007. Morrissey continued to tour, playing festivals, coffeehouses, and small folk venues. He died from complications due to heart disease in a Dalton, Georgia hotel room, on July 23, 2011 while on tour. Shortly before his passing, he completed work on a second novel, Imaginary Runner. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi