Midlife blog fills the bill

twoWills-billI read an essay a year ago about the late singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow on the excellent online journal Literal Latté. Though I was not a fan of the singer, Glenn Berger’s compelling inside account of the recording of her first record at A&R Studios in New York moved me, and gave me new respect for Snow. I loved the musical detail about her hit song “Poetry Man,” which was all over the pop airwaves that shaped my teenage brain. Inspired, I emailed the story to friends, and shared it on Facebook.

Will Stewart, the other William here, was the first to comment on the post, saying that Berger’s piece made him understand why Snow’s song made such an impression on him. Will’s words were exactly what I had been thinking but unable to articulate. A light flickered. And a few days later the2Williams was born.

I’ve known Will for nearly 30 years. We were colleagues at the Ann Arbor News in the late 1980s but didn’t become friends until after I left the paper for the Detroit Free Press.During much of the 1990s we played recreational basketball together, hung out at the Blind Pig and Sidetrack bars, went on road trips up North, planned our summers around the late great Frog Island Jazz and Blues Festival in Ypsilanti, wrote about the local music scenes for our newspapers, and spent hours talking about records and bands we liked. Will even influenced me to buy my first — and only — Grateful Dead cassette.

Early middle life introduced itself sometime around the turn of the century, and we lost touch as we became more focused on family and staying home. We’re still focused on those precious parts of our lives but doing a blog together seemed like a good way to reconnect and write about the Detroit-Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor music scene that we’ve loved since we were teenagers.

The2Williams project is an experimental labor of love. Each of us have separate careers that keep us busy and pay the bills. Views expressed here are our own and don’t reflect our respective employers. Neither of us will earn money from this blog. Neither of us has curated anything so ambitious and daunting. We’re working on mysteries without any clues, as a famous Ann Arborite once committed to song.

If we have a goal, other than to improve our writing and look for good stories, it’s to shed a little bit of light on a music community we love, a state we call home, and mumbo jumbo that moves us.

Funny how the night moves.








Will he is

Greetings from scenic Ypsilanti Township! I’m the “other” William, but you can go ahead and call me Will. I’m a nearly 30-year resident of the Ypsi-Arbor environs, having moved here after college to work at the Ann Arbor News.
Do you remember newspapers? If so, this blog is probably going to be right up your street. We hope so, anyway. In fact, us “Two Williams” met and became friends when we both worked at The News and realized we had shared interests in music, basketball and beer. Mostly beer. But, as is so often the case, time, job changes, family, and an ever-diminishing capacity for beer intervened and our interactions dwindled to the occasional happenstance encounter somewhere around town.
twoWills-willSo Iwas as surprised as I was pleased when Bill contacted me recently — and by recently I mean more than a year ago — to suggest we collaborate on this blog as a way not only to fill the growing void in entertainment and cultural reporting around Ann Arbor, but also to rekindle the friendship that life’s other demands had sidetracked so many years earlier.
And now many moons have passed … but we’re ready to unveil the fruits of Bill’s grand vision and my own meager efforts. Look for news about music — local and beyond — food, iconic Ann Arbor characters and some fun (and hopefully funny) other adventures in journalistic whimsy.
Let us know what you think, and by all means, feel free to hip us to stories, people, bands and/or happenings you think should find a place on these pages. We have some ideas of our own, but we really want this to be a collaborative effort between us and you.
Meanwhile, at the risk of self-aggrandizement, here’s just a little more about me: In 2001, after nearly a decade and a half as a newspaper reporter (in a moment of totally accidental prescience) I made an abrupt career change and opened a record store in Ypsilanti. Maybe you remember Rubber Soul Records; but probably you don’t. I barely do. For the last decade, I’ve worked in public relations, specializing in media monitoring and measurement for automotive-industry clients.
I used to play drums with local stalwarts, Corndaddy, and led my own “garage-country” outfit, The Ypsitucky Colonels for many years after that.
Most of my gigs nowadays occur on the back deck with friends or in my wife’s kindergarten class. And, just to show how time marches on, I no longer drink beer. But if you happen to see me walking out of a marijuana dispensary, rest assured it’s strictly for medicinal purposes …
Welcome to the2Willams. We hope you like it here!