Rosalie Sorrels and Friends

My Last Go Round

Rosalie Sorrels, the “traveling lady” from Boise, Idaho, has been one of America’s great singing story tellers for nearly 40 years now. She’s 70, has survived cancer, the death of a child and that of many old friends (Dave Van Ronk being the latest) and is still going, well, pretty strong. If the title of this latest album is any indication, though, she’s winding down. Recorded live on the Harvard campus, it’s just what Sorrels most loves, a gathering of friends—including Peggy Seeger, Jean Ritchie, Loudon Wainwright III and David Bromberg, among others—making music and swapping stories. They sing some fabulous tunes, tell a few tales, remember Van Ronk lovingly, and generally honor Sorrels, who’s as soulful and real as always. Her voice is less pretty than it once was, but it’s got more lived life behind it than anybody’s. And, as she says of (and in) “Old Devil Time,” “you’d like to bring me down, but when I’m low, my friends all gather round to help me rise, rise and sing it one more time.”Rosalie Sorrels will be joining old friends again when she performs this weekend (Fri.) at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival in Laytonville.