Connie Dover (1958–)

Connie Dover is a musician who has received critical accolades internationally for her interpretations of traditional English, Irish, and Scottish folk music, as well as folk ballads of the American West. She also is an accomplished arranger, composer, and poet. She is the founder and owner of the independent record label Taylor Park Music Inc.

Constance Gail (Connie) Dover was born in Jonesboro (Craighead County) on October 10, 1958, to Doil Lee Dover, who was a businessman, and Janice Steed Dover, an educator and social activist. Her younger brother, Jeffrey (Jef), became a musician and restaurateur. The family moved frequently during her early childhood before settling in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1969. After graduating from North Kansas City High School in 1976 and beginning undergraduate studies at a local community college, Dover attended Avila University in Kansas City on full scholarship but withdrew before completing a degree to tour as a vocalist with the country band Denver Locke. Subsequently, she transferred to William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in history. She also studied abroad at Oxford University.

After completing her study abroad, Dover joined the recently formed traditional Celtic folk ensemble Scartaglen. The Kansas City–based group toured extensively and recorded three albums: Scartaglen (1984), The Middle Path (1986), and Last Night’s Fun (1992).

Dover is a prolific and versatile solo artist, regularly performing at folk festivals and other venues, and often collaborating with other musicians. Her own recordings include the albums Somebody (1991), The Wishing Well (1994), If I Ever Return (1997), The Border of Heaven (2000), The Holly and the Ivy (2008), and Restless Angel (2016), all of which are distributed through her independent label. She has been involved with several film productions, including acclaimed director Ang Lee’s feature film Ride with the Devil (1999) and the public television documentaries Water and Fire: A Story of the Ozarks (2000), Last Stand of the Tallgrass Prairie (2001), and Bad Blood: The Border War that Triggered the Civil War (2007), for which she received an Emmy award for best musical composition and arrangement. Winter Count, her first volume of poems, was published in 2007.

In the early 1990s, Dover began working as a ranch cook and tour guide in northwestern Wyoming. She said, “My work as a musician and writer is informed and inspired in great part by the time I spend in the American West. My work cooking on ranches has paralleled my solo musical career.”

Dover was inducted into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame in 2017 in the categories of musician and composer/songwriter.

For additional information:
Connie Dover. (accessed August 9, 2023).

Connie Dover—Luddite Studios. (accessed August 9, 2023).

Fertig, Judith. “Traditional Singer Connie Dover Answers Four Questions.” IN Kansas City. (accessed August 9, 2023).

Sullivan, Mairéid. Celtic Women in Music: A Celebration of Beauty and Sovereignty. Kingston, Ontario, Canada: Quarry Press, 1999.

Greg A. Phelps
Columbia, Kentucky


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