I’m So Thankful

performed by Gary Silva

written by William Schuler, ©Schuler Music

  • Kevin Russell – guitars
  • Steve Barbieri – guitars
  • Kent Fossgreen – Upright Bass
  • Gary Silva – Drums & vocals

In the early 1970’s while living in Marin County, after trying to establish myself as a musician and not having the experience , chops , or luck,  I met a musician from the New Orleans area and we immediately hit it off. He called my style “Louisiana Fat-Back Funk”. That was news to me . I’d never heard that term .

As it turned out William Schuler , or as we knew him , “Willum”, was a profound songwriter who had that Southern “thing” … that ability to put the right combination of words and “hooks” that contained the sweetness , charm ,and simplicity reminiscent of a J.J.Cale. We played in bands together, doing mostly his original music and living the “starving artist” lifestyle. Eventually his songs and laid back southern charm caught the interest of two southern Blues men, Luther Tucker and Elvin Bishop. Soon Elvin was playing Willum’s songs not only Live , but on recordings.

Eventually I moved on . I got lucky backing many Blues artists but we still maintained a strong bond. We both started families and migrated to Sonoma County. In life we sometimes lose touch with great friends and years go by . In this case probably 20 years or more. Fast forward to one day while lying back in a dentist’s chair with gauze in my mouth. A woman approaches me and says “Hi Gary, do you remember me?”. It was Willum’s former wife and we struck up a conversation.

My first question was, “How’s Willum and how do I get in touch with him?” She responded ,”Oh, Willum passed away a few years ago, you didn’t know?”. I was stunned and quite choked up. I asked why no one got in touch to let me know. She said “No one contacted you?” I said “Of course not, had I known, I certainly would have been there for him “. She responded,”I always thought it was a little strange that you weren’t at his funeral “.

Well, after contacting some mutual friends and doing some investigating, we found some of Willum’s material. There were many songs to choose from. Some unfinished, some that were ready and worthy of CD release . One song in particular always stuck in my head. It started out with a sort of yodel that only Willum could master. That song was “I’m so Thankful”. When Doug asked if I’d be interested in singing a song I thought of this song. I tried my best at the “yodel” but I’m sure Willum is somewhere laughing at my attempt. Anyway , with nothing but respect and a mountain of Love, I present his song by my dear friend and brother …Willum Schuler. Rest in Peace Buddy, I hope you like it .

-Gary Silva

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