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'Dear Jean' Tribute Album to Jean Ritchie Celebrates Folk Icon

Compass Records and Appalachian Voices are pleased to announce that Dear Jean – Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie has been listed as the #1 most played album on the FolkDJ Radio Charts for the second month in a row.

This 37 track, two CD love letter to the iconic Kentucky musician features many of folk music’s most respected performers and has received praises from a variety of sources.

Born in Viper, Kentucky in 1922, Jean Ritchie is one of the most influential figures in American music. Often called "The Mother of Folk Music," she is a living connection between traditional songs and contemporary folk, country and bluegrass. She has also been a friend and mentor to generations of musicians, encouraging singers and instrumentalists in a variety of genres.

After Ritchie suffered a stroke in 2009, producers Mick Lane, Charlie Pilzer and Dan Schatz began working on Dear Jean as a way for the folk community to honor one of its leading figures. Artists were intentionally selected to reflect a diversity of musical styles, with veterans like Judy Collins, Kathy Mattea, Janis Ian, Robin and Linda Williams, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Robbie O'Connell and John McCutcheon performing side by side with younger, up and coming talents like Sam Amidon, Rachael Davis, Elizabeth LaPrelle, and the Starry Mountain Singers, as well as members of the Ritchie family.

The liner notes include personal tributes from Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, Fiona Ritchie and Wendell Berry, along with a wealth of photographs from Jean's long career.

Because Ritchie has been outspoken in efforts to halt the destruction of mountains and communities caused by the surface coal mining technique known as "mountaintop removal,” the artists on the CD teamed up to support the advocacy group Appalachian Voices. The regional nonprofit organization brings people together to protect the communities and natural resources of the Appalachian region by promoting a shift from harmful, polluting energy practices – including mountaintop removal coal mining – to a cleaner, more just and sustainable energy future.

Dear Jean – Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie will be the subject of a one hour Woodsongs special, to be broadcast on National Public Radio beginning the week of October 25, and on PBS and other television outlets later in the Fall.

Here's the song "Black Waters" performed by John McCutcheon, Tim O'Brien, Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, Stuart Duncan and Bryn Davies.

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