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Guitar fans have had a rough couple of days. Yesterday brilliant folk and country guitarist Doc Watson died at age 89. This morning, according to the private Facebook page of fellow guitarist and collaborator Vernon Reid, Chicago’s own Pete Cosey died at 68. Obituaries and remembrances for Watson have already appeared all over, and deservedly so—few instrumentalists so completely absorbed America’s folk and country traditions, and fewer still brought such quiet virtuosity to them. Watson was a key catalyst in the folk revival after his discovery by producer Ralph Rinzler in 1960.
Pete Cosey, on the other hand, was a classic musician’s musician; he’s not especially well-known, though he played on tons of classic records. As such, word of his passing is traveling rather more slowly.