Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bill Withers Liner Notes

"Stuttering is critical," he says, "because stuttering may have been one of the reasons I stayed in the Navy so long -- nine years.  I wasn't quite ready for the world.  It wasn't until I was twenty-eight that I really got a handle on my speech.  I saw that I had an acute fear of what a listener might think of me.  Shyness was part of the emotional mix.  It was also frustrating.  Because of my chronic stutter, people assumed I was sstupid.  I realized I had a gift for language -- I was probably more verbal than those who were taunting me -- but that gift was stifled.  When I processed the fear -- looked at it and understood it -- I found the strength to move on.  I found expression in writing songs.  Blues lyrics seemed too restricted to me.  Blues is certainly in my blood, but my heart required a freer form.  If there had been a commercial mainstream outlet for pure poetry, I probably would have done just that.  Saying something was far more important than musical virtuosity.  Truth is, I lacked musical virtuosity.  So my stuff stayed simple.  At the same time, if I hadn't been protecting something macho deep within me, there's no telling what I might have said lyrically in my songs.
Looking back, I see that as a stutterer I was extremely sensitive.  Any stutterer lives with a lifetime of hurt feelings.  That sensitivity served my songs.  I didn't start this little music career of mine till I was nearly thirty, so there was already a degree of maturity.

No comments:

Post a Comment