Kentucky-born folk music legend Jean Ritchie passed away on Monday (June 1), according to Kentucky news outlet WYMT Mountain News. The Appalachian music mainstay was 92 years old.
Born in 1922, Ritchie graduated in college in the ’40s and moved to New York City. Armed with a repertoire of Appalachian folk tunes and a dulcimer (an instrument in the zither family typically played while seated), Ritchie introduced many folk fans and musicians to dozens of obscure songs that would have otherwise been lost.
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While she never achieved the chart success of fellow revivalists in the ’50s folk boom, Ritchie remained a consistent performer and highly respected, authentic practitioner of the genre.
Listen to her singing the European folk classic “Barbary Allen” — a song Bob Dylan would end up covering when he moved to Greenwich Village — below.