Wednesday, April 17, 2013

McCreath pays tribute to fellow Nova Scotian, Rita MacNeil 4/17/2013

I was shocked to learn of the sudden passing this morning of Big Pond, Nova Scotia native Rita MacNeil, perhaps the greatest singer/songwriter to ever come out of my beloved home province. Rita reportedly died from complications of surgery yesterday. She was 68.

Often under-appreciated due to her obesity, Rita's singing voice and songwriting ability finally got the credit they deserved in the mid 80s, after years of music in the coffee house scene. She was a featured performer at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1992. She was awarded best new musician at the Juno Awards at the age of 42 - proof that you are never too old to follow your dreams. She was a true inspiration.

 In addition to her music, she was known for her advocacy work in women's rights, and for being considered a kind-hearted 'girl next door' who always remained humble and true to herself and her roots. I had the opportunity to see per perform live twice in 2010, and had a brief meeting with her, when she was doing a Christmas tour that had two stops here in St. John's, Newfoundland.   While Anne Murray may go down as a the greatest Nova Scotia musician of all time, Rita will always be my favourite. I will always love her music and will cherish the memories of seeing and hearing her sing live, and meeting her. RIP.

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