T.R. was born in Olympia Wash., on Dec. 29, 1946. His parents moved back to Kansas soon after his birth and he spent most of his growing years in Blackwell, Okla.
T.R. was a self-taught musician; he bought his first guitar while studying journalism in college, wrote his first songs, and never looked back.
For several years he divided his time learning his craft while working seasonally for the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter and, later, a fire lookout in the mountains of northeastern Oregon. He eventually settled in the Northwest, and in the late ‘70s busked on the streets of Seattle’s Pike Street Market while writing the songs that would eventually become his first recording, “Not Just Another Pretty Songwriter,” a cassette-only album (later released on CD) that nonetheless caught the ear of regional music critics.
In 1983, T.R. was one of two-dozen songwriters featured on a regionally best-selling compilation album produced by radio station KEZX-FM, and he soon began to tour further afield. His second recording, “Changing Of The Guard,” followed, and with it his first national tour.
In 1994, T.R. moved to the canyon country of southeast Utah. He continued to tour nationally, both as a solo artist and in support of longtime partner Cosy Sheridan. In 2008 they co-founded the Moab Folk Camp, a week-long series of music workshops held in conjunction with the Moab Folk Festival.
In September of 2012 he returned to the Pacific Northwest to concentrate on his solo career.
T.R.’s songwriting awards and accolades are many: a two-time finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk contest; top honors from the Napa Valley (Calif.), Sisters (Ore.) and Jubilee (Colo.) Folk Festival songwriting competitions; the only double-showcase songwriter in 2001 and again in 2005 at the Walnut Valley Festival’s New Artist Showcase in Kansas, and a 2005 finalist at the Mountain Stage Newsong Festival.
His CD discography includes “Not Just Another Pretty Songwriter” in 1984; “Changing of the Guard,” “Homeground” in 1995; “My Father’s Wildest Dream” in 2001 and “Wild Horses” in 2009, as well as a book of poems, “Works On Paper.”
A fund in T.R.’s memory has been set up at the Moab Folk Camp: the T.R. Ritchie Memorial Fund. Memoriams can be made to the office of the Moab Folk Festival, P.O. Box 1082, Moab UT 84532.