Death noted: Singer and folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes, age 88, in Portland, Oregon.
Although best remembered (and understandably so!) for co-writing “M.T.A.,” the half-century-ago Kingston Trio hit, Hawes also did ambitious folklore advocacy for the National Endowment for the Arts from 1977 to 1992.
In “Sing It Pretty: A Memoir” (2008) she recalled how “North Carolina, a long, thin state… was celebrated in a major first-time folk festival… on a long, thin piece of land where traditional arts of each section of the state could celebrate together in their own special places on the ‘map,’ producing a vivid demonstration of the cultural excitement a trip through North Carolina has to offer. Every single member of the legislature attended that festival in order to have his picture taken with the folk artists of his own domain.”
Along with father John A. Lomax and brother Alan Lomax, Hawes was, as the New York Times noted, ”part of the premier family of American folk scholarship.”