Welcome to...

UPDATED Nov 23, 2022

Kate MacLeod is sponsored by Shubb Capos

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EXCITING NEWS! The Utah Division of Arts and Museums has awarded a grant in support of this project!  The first recorded song of the project, Wintergrace, will be released on Dec 30, 2022.

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This is a place where I'll be sharing music, thoughts, musings, and information about the American Folk musician Jean Ritchie.  I'll be producing new renditions of her songs, collaborating with special guest musicians

on each recorded piece.

For those new to her music, or even those who know of her, this DOCUMENTARY is a wonderful introduction to her life and musical experience. And, of course, her WIKIPEDIA page is worth exploring. 

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I began singing Jean Ritchie's songs when I was a teenager.

She was then, and still is, a primary inspiration for my love of American Folk Music. Through her original songs, her modifications of traditional songs, her instrumental playing, and her collaborations with other musicians, she's represented the spirit of American folk music with both authenticity and innovation. 

In a life that spanned 1922-2015, Jean bridged the world of families who sang on their porches in mountain hollers, to those who took that music to the rest of the world. During her lifetime, she became a well respected performer, songwriter, and folklorist. She was a Fulbright Scholar, a co-director of the very first Newport Folk Festival in 1959, and was instrumental in introducing the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer to a wide listenership. Without losing her sense of small town, down home, and family-centered living, she was one of the few artists lauded by both the popular music world (Rolling Stone Magazine's 1977 Critic's Choice Award) and the traditional folk music world (Folk Alliance International's 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award). 


Jean Ritchie was an important musician in the "folk revival" of the 1960-70s era, her contribution was as important as some of her more established (more famous) peers. Her work as a folklorist in collecting music was balanced well with her understanding and acceptance that folk music was a living and breathing form of music, that each artist and generation of people will leave their mark through varied renditions, new versions, and inventive arrangements. The well-crafted lyrics and melodies of her original songs carry cadence styles like that of traditional folk music. Within her collection of traditional music, it can be difficult to discern the difference between the older lyrics and some of her lyric modifications. Jean composed songs with an eclectic flare, including love songs, children's songs, spirituals, songs about miners, songs touching on environmental issues, with many about the mountains where she was raised. 

    Some people ask why I dedicate so much time to Jean's music. Well, I've always been fascinated by her and the music she creates, and I think there's more to her music than we hear upon first listenings.

I recorded her song None But One on two different recordings, and corresponded with Jean through handwritten notes for those releases. She sent me a signed copy of the lyrics and notation sheet for the song, which I treasure. My own experiences as a woman working in the music business, rooted in the

Folk genre, who has also raised children, have fostered in me relatable awareness of her.

My experience in other genres of music, such as Classical, and my professional work as a producer,

give me comfortability in rendering her songs in ways that depart from her own recordings, in hopes

to expand appreciation and curiosity about her repertoire. I also want to know more about Jean,

and so others will be able to learn about her, along with me, through my research, posts, website updates, and new releases of her work. Additional reasons for my attention to this

will become apparent if you follow this project over time.  

SONGS I'M IN THE PROCESS OF RECORDING

1. Wintergrace - release date Dec 30, 2022

2. Black Waters - release date Feb 10, 2023

3. Come Fare Away - release date Mar 24, 2023

4. The Flowers of Joy - release date May 5, 2023

These songs I'm recording with collaborators at The Cabin studios near Leesburg, VA. Bassist John Bryant is in this photo at the studio, playing a bass track on Wintergrace. 

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This page will be regularly updated and expanded, so please return here now and then for new postings and uploaded music. I'll be recording a series of her songs and will share them here. 

A natural course of creating new renditions of her music will lead to single song releases, and publishing them in sources such as CDs and/or vinyl LPs.  

Fundraising for this project will be ongoing.

To support The Jean Ritchie Experience, please join in at my Patreon page,

or consider a direct donation. 

You can contact me through...info at kate macleod dot com.