The folksinger and songwriter Mary McCaslin died over the weekend at the age of 76. She had long suffered from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare brain disorder.
McCaslin was born in 1946 in Beechgrove, Indiana. She was adopted and her parents moved the family to Redondo Beach, California, when McCaslin was just six years old.
McCaslin grew up with a great interest in music and began playing guitar as a teenager, making her debut onstage when she was 18. She soon began performing in the storied folk scene at the Los Angeles Troubadour club, where she became connected with a record producer. She recorded her first album in 1969 and released ten studio albums, plus two best-of collections, culminating with 2006’s Better Late Than Never.
McCaslin was known for her simple but poetic songwriting, characteristic folk vocals, and open guitar tunings. Her music was beloved by fans and fellow musicians alike. Indeed, several contemporary artists recorded McCaslin’s songs, so to pay tribute to her memory we’ve collected some in the list below, beginning with a favorite from McCaslin herself.
Mary McCaslin – “Old Friends”
Gretchen Peters with Tom Russell – “Prairie in the Sky”
Kate Wolf – “The Ballad of Weaverville”
David Bromberg – “Young Westley”
Stan Rogers – “Down the Road”