A singer-songwriter from small-town Canada whose prevailing voice mastered multiple genres from country, to folk, to gospel, Rita MacNeil, passed away at the age of 68 on Tuesday night due to complications in a surgery. MacNeil was a hard working artist, who endeavored for decades in order to get the fame she acquired in Canadian culture, since the bust time of her career started only after she was in her 40s.
Her flawless, astonishingly full voice embodied a light Celtic lilt that only sweetened her dulcet tones, although she was still an extremely multitalented singer who could coax higher notes from her voice too. MacNeil was admittedly painfully shy and confessed to have face self-confidence issues, mainly related to her weight. Singer Anne Murray remembered her in a statement, saying that “I am deeply saddened by the loss of a dear sweet woman and a gifted singer-songwriter who represented women and her beloved Nova Scotia so eloquently in her songs.”
Country music legend, Tommy Hunter, alleged that “coming from a coal mining area she had a soft spot in her heart for those miners. When she sang ‘Working Man’ there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Rita could convey that kind of warmth and sincerity through her songs to the people in the studio audience and to the viewers at home. It was evident that she touched them all from the many letters and comments we received after that show. I have lost a good friend.”
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