Celebrated Idaho folksinger Rosalie Sorrels dies at 83

Idaho Life, 1998: Rosalie Sorrels

BOISE -- Native Idahoan and folk singing icon Rosalie Sorrels died Sunday night, her family has announced. Sorrels was 83.

"She was surrounded with love and music, and is free from all the pain," the singer's family posted on Facebook.

A memorial service for Sorrels will be held in Boise.

According to Red House Records, Sorrels began performing in the 1960's after leaving her husband and hitting the road with her five children in tow. She performed at festivals and venues across the country, earning the moniker "The Traveling Lady."

"I started this when I was 33 years old - it was a hobby," Sorrels told KTVB in 1998. "I only did it because I didn't know how to do anything else. I was out by myself with no money, and no skills, five kids to take care of."

Sorrels has recorded two dozen albums and written three books, according to her profile on Red House Records. Despite her wide travels, she returned home to Idaho, moving into a family log cabin nearGrimes Creek.

"I'm delighted to live here, it's like a tap root," Sorrels said in the 1998 interview. "It's like going back to your source."

Neighbor and longtime friend Rick Ardinger says he and Sorrels bonded over a shared love of music, books and poetry. 

"When you think of folk music, I mean, there are some people that come to mind, but no one quite like Rosalie," he said. "She was a real pioneer at that time."

Sorrels was nominated twice for Grammy awards and was the recipient of both the Governor's Award For Excellence in the Arts in 1986 and the Boise Peace Quilt. She was also awarded a doctorate of fine arts by the University of Idaho.

 


© 2017 KTVB-TV


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