Bill Deasy opened the Hope Festival on Saturday, and so has the honor of forever being the First Act.
He was also, incidentally, the first real musician I ever knew. His Bailey and Deasy duo were the draw to the student union in college, and the really cool people also heard them play off campus in restaurants and bars.
After Bill (my Bill) and I were married, we often drove down to Pittsburgh to hear him play with his band, The Gathering Field, at unremembered bars and clubs. We own copies of all his c.d.’s (with the exception of his latest release- an error we will shortly remedy), and Every Time I pop one in the player, I am gone again– off in Pittsburgh, watching the sun set on her rivers, enjoying the grit and beauty of her streets, the steepness of her hills, her frankness about how hard and good it is to be alive.
When he started singing on Saturday, I thought of how deep Bill’s voice runs in my memory. I have listened to him sing for more than half my life.
He drove all the way to the festival and home again, charged a pittance for performing, sat on the grass with me after his performance and asked me in all honesty about my writing.
When he was singing, I sang along, but the newer songs held me too, and here is a lyric, just one, that I wrote down. You could live on this alone, I’d imagine, for weeks at the very least:
I’m better now out of the sight of the fall of your smile.
Thank you so much for coming, Bill.