June Carter Cash
June Carter Cash was a country legend who lies smack dab in the middle of the Americana crossroads. She was heir to the legacy of The Carter Family (who pioneered country music from an evolution of hillbilly instrumentals to beautifully picked vocal songs). She also happened to be married to country music's original gangster, Johnny Cash (whose voice makes cameo appearances on her recordings). Carter Cash's 1999 album Press On was nominated for a Grammy and contains a version of "Ring of Fire" passionate enough to put goosebumps on Gillian Welch. Carter Cash's gentle and rustic inflections are especially powerful when singing her kin-wrote standards such as "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." She passed away in 2003, followed just months later by her husband.