Cohen, John (Harris)
- Richard Will
(b New York, Aug 2, 1932; d Putnam Valley, NY, Sept 16, 2019). American folk musician, folklorist, filmmaker, and photographer. He studied painting and photography at the Yale School of Fine Arts (BFA 1955, MFA 1957), where his teachers included Joseph Albers and Herbert Matter. In 1958 he formed the New Lost City Ramblers with Mike Seeger and Tom Paley (later succeeded by Tracy Schwarz). Focusing on string band music and songs from rural Appalachia, they were among the most important groups of the folk revival of the 1950s and 60s, and a principal inspiration for the ongoing string band revival known as Old-Time Music. They made over 25 recordings, and Cohen and Seeger also edited a highly influential songbook. Much of Cohen’s fieldwork concentrated on the same area, and his films and recordings of Roscoe Holcomb, Dillard Chandler, the Carter Family, and others decisively shaped modern perceptions of Appalachian music. As a co-founder of the Friends of Old-Time Music in ...