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Passings: Folksinger Rosalie Sorrels (1933 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Rosalie Sorrels, the folk singer/songwriter and social activist, died on Sunday, June 12 in Reno, NV at the age of 83.

Her children posted a message on her passing along with the song Ashes on the Sea:

I am sorry to report that our mother did pass away last night. She was surrounded with love and music, and is free from all the pain. Our mother has sung this song at the wakes of many of her friends and family, now we share her song in her honor. We will be planning a memorial service in Boise to allow mom's many friends to say goodbye, and we (the family) will let all know when this will be after we have had a chance to grieve the loss of our beloved mother. We are very fortunate to have so many friends through mom's work, and it helps a lot! This is sad news, but we have prepared ourselves for this too. We love you all and thank you for the continued love and support throughout are lives. Keep on Rocking, It's a Beautiful Boat.

Very Much Love Holly, Shelley, and Kevin

Sorrels was born as Rosalie Stringfellow in Boise, ID and participated in theater while in high school. She married Jim Sorrels in 1952 while working in the theater and, over the next decade, the couple had five children.

Although Rosalie was interested in jazz music but, in the mid-50's, began getting interested in folk music which led to her working with folklorist Wayland Hand at the University of Utah. It was during this time that she gained her vast knowledge of folk music.

Her music career started in 1961 with the release of three albums, Rosalie Sorrels Sings Songs of the Mormon Pioneers (Festival Records), Rosalie's Songbag (Prestige Records) and Folk Songs of Idaho and Utah (Folkways Records).

Rosalie left her husband in the mid-60's and took on a more bohemian life, taking her children on tours all over the country and playing at such events as the 1966 Newport Folk Festival. She became close with some of the more non-traditional artists including Hunter Thompson, Studs Terkel and Bruce "Utah" Phillips with whom she regularly collaborated.

Over the following decades, Sorrels regularly toured around the country and recorded almost two dozen albums which included many of her own compositions.

Rosalie's active life was slowed over the last decade by cancer and a cerebral aneurysm although she stayed active in local organizations.

Sorrels is survived by three of her five children.