Letter to the Editor: Livers could play with the best

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I read with interest Bonnie Strassell’s remembrance of Bill Livers drawn from her visit with Jim Ware.
I have to disagree with the implication that Bill lacked talent as a fiddler. I traveled and played with Bill for many years, watched him play for different audiences in many different settings, and gained some insights into his personality and character. Bill had a great gift for sizing up an audience and responding to their expectations. If they expected him to cut up and act the clown, that’s what he would do, and his fiddling suffered accordingly.
But when Bill had the opportunity to be around other good fiddlers as he often did in his travels, the transformation was amazing. When he perceived that he had an audience that took him seriously as a musician, the clown act was left behind and his fiddling would turn their heads.  
The old blues and breakdowns he inherited from his grandfather and uncles were a gift he gave to anyone who would listen, and he knew how to put it across with great feeling.
There may be some people who never heard Bill at his best, but he was a great fiddler when he wanted to be, and he gained the respect of a lot of people in the music world.

John Harrod