• Jack Cooke

Working as a bluegrass bassist must be a pretty thankless task. Though you’re providing the core pulse and harmonic framework for the music, you never get a turn in the solo spotlight—unlike the guitarist, fiddler, mandolinist, and banjoist (that is, everyone else in the band). Few bassists carried themselves with the grace of Jack Cooke, longtime sideman for Ralph Stanley. Cooke died Tuesday, at the age of 72, in a hospital in Norton, Virginia, after collapsing at home—he was born in Norton and lived there his whole life, even serving a term as mayor.