HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — Country singer and banjo picker Molly O'Day, whose mournful mountain blues style is credited with influencing the sound of modern country music, has died of cancer. She was 64.
Miss O'Day, who died Saturday, was once called one of "the greatest, if not the greatest, woman singer in country music," by Robert Shelton, former country and folk music critic for the New York Times.
Dolly Parton once said Miss O'Day's music profoundly influenced the way she sings today.
Famous Bluegrass banjo player Earl Scruggs said that she once beat him in a banjo contest in Renfro Valley, Ky., and he admitted that he stood in awe of her singing and banjo-picking talents.
But during her years in Huntington, she refused to accept the accolades from an admiring public, remaining nearly a recluse at her home and insisting that her career had no impact on modern country music.