Rosalie Sorrels Biography

Rosalie was born in Idaho 75 years ago and lives there now in a log cabin her father built, 30 miles outside of Boise. She has traveled this country, usually driving herself, for 1/2 of a century - wherever she has stopped she has made lifelong friends. She began her career as a folklorist in the 1950's -- she has an encyclopedic knowledge of the folk idiom, ranging from the English ballads to Mormon songs to the work of contemporary songwriters -- not just the songs but also the tradition from which they are derived. Her songs and stories serve to create and preserve the oral tradition.

She left her husband in the mid-60's and went on the road with her five children to begin a career as a musician. Her homes in Boise and then in Salt Lake City were the stopping places for just about any creative person who came through town, including not only musicians but some of the pivotal figures of the Beat Generation. Many of them have remained her friends and sometime collaborators. Oscar Zeta Acosta, Hunter Thompson and Studs Terkel wrote introductory liner notes for her albums. Robert Creeley wrote a poem about her. The noted composer and filmmaker David Amram played French horn and flute on one of her early albums. Studs Terkel has included interviews with her in two of his books, American Dreams Lost and Found and the most recent, May the Circle Be Unbroken. She was at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966. In recognition of her role as a creator of and collaborator in the American culture of the second half of the twentieth century, the University of California at Santa Cruz has set up a Rosalie Sorrels Archive as part of its Beat Generation Archives. The University of Idaho awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree in 2000. In 2001 the Boise Peace Quilt Project presented her with a peace quilt, adding her name to the distinguished list of workers for peace and justice who have been presented with quilts.

Rosalie has recorded 25 albums,and collaborated on many others, and has written three books, including Way Out in Idaho, published in honor of the Idaho centenary, a monumental collection of songs, stories, pictures, and recipes gathered in the course of three years spent traveling around her home state and listening to its people. Her collection of the writings of her mother, Nancy Stringfellow, Report from Grimes Creek, is still in print. Her most recent recording is Strangers In Another Country, a compilation of songs by Utah Bruce Phillips, which has been nominated for The Grammy Award. This is the second nomination for The Grammy Award in Rosalie's career. The first being, My Last Go Round.

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