- Songwriters Ramblinâ€™ Jack Elliott and John Prine perform in Monterey
"A rodeo friend gave me leather suspenders , which is the only thing I can use to hold my pants up since I lost my ass in the music business" – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
“Everybody’s dying this year,” says folk icon Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. “It seems like a week doesn’t go by without some beloved musician dying.”
The 85-year-old folk finger-picker’s morbid observation is prompted when the subject of Leonard Cohen’s recent passing comes up. Elliott, being the infectious, meandering rambler he’s been for decades, has many pockets filled with stories involving just about every well-known figure in the arts world. In Cohen’s case, he tells a quick yarn about the two going out for a Japanese dinner one night in the ’70s. While they waited for their food, Cohen decided to do a headstand, matter-of-factly enough, next to his chair, for about 15 minutes.
“He was studying yoga,” Elliott explains. “It was difficult for the waiters to get around [Cohen], but they weren’t going to stop him.”
It’s the first day in a long time that Elliott feels healthy and chipper. Following a 12-city tour spanning 5,000 miles, the folk hero says a “mystery cough” has kept him bedridden and on prednisone for about a month, but he woke at 6am that morning and strolled through patches of it’s-good-to-be-alive early-morning fog.
Regarded as the son of Woody Guthrie and the father of Bob Dylan, Elliott’s a folk musician’s folk musician who can also be somewhat elusive, which may be the result of not keeping up with some technological advances.
“I’m very good with old trucks and young horses, but I cannot figure out a computer to save my butt,” he admits.
That doesn’t stop his music from being recorded: He’s released over 40 records, been nominated for five Grammy Awards and brought home two wins, including Best Traditional Blues Album for his distinct rearrangement of old country blues staples on 2009’s A Stranger Here.
When asked about receiving the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from Folk Alliance International, Elliott instead talks about being one of the 1998 recipients of the National Medal of the Arts, personally awarded by the president of the United States: “I got to see the White House, I got to meet Bill Clinton and Mrs. Clinton and take photographs of it all.”
Elliott is pleased about his folk mentee Bob Dylan winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature: “I’m proud of the kid,” he says. Mentioning Dylan prompts a final tale, about the first time he and Elliott met. Elliott left the U.S. in 1955 and bummed around Europe for six years, singing Woody Guthrie songs and recording albums. Upon returning to the States in 1961, Elliott visited Guthrie at his house in New Jersey on one of his notorious Sunday get-togethers and noticed “a kid with curly hair.”
Elliott summons a very good Dylan impression. “Bobby Dylan said, ‘I listen to all your recordings, Jack,’” Elliott says. “Then [Dylan] starts telling me about all the songs he likes that I recorded in England, which is really where my professional recording career got started. So there was Bob Dylan telling me that he was a big fan of mine and had all of my recordings and he liked all my songs, so I naturally took a liking to him.”
Last October, Elliott was invited to join another one of his folk-friends-for-life, Kris Kristofferson, who scored the 2016 Woody Guthrie Prize in Tulsa, Oklahoma. An all-star benefit concert was held, culminating in Elliott joining Kristofferson on stage for a sweeping rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” with Rodney Crowell and John Flynn.
While Elliott hasn’t released any of his own records since 2009, his presence on other artists’ records remains in demand: Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir’s killer 2016 solo record Blue Mountain features Ramblin’ Jack (and the Ramblin’ Jackernacle Choir) guest yodeling and hollering on the cowboy tune, “Ki-Yi Bossie.”
Before Elliott’s 1969 performance on The Johnny Cash Show, Cash told the audience, “[Elliott’s] got a song and friend for every mile behind him.”
The world is grateful that Ramblin’ Jack Elliott continues to add clicks to the old odometer of life.
On Wednesday, Elliott will open for longtime buddy and ’70s tourmate, mailman-turned-country star John Prine “(Sam Stone,” “Angel From Montgomery”) at Golden State Theatre in Monterey. It will be a special show because it’s the only date on the books, as of now, featuring both performers on the same bill.
For over 40 years, Prine has been the kind of singer-songwriter that humbly eases into the stage spotlight sans grandiosity, but can still make new listeners feel like they’ve unearthed gold. In the early years, Prine was known for being able to quiet a room full of drunks, who’d end up entranced, hanging on each line as if it was the edge of a cliff. One of his most poignant songs, “Sam Stone,” centers on an injured Korean War veteran who returns home with a Purple Heart and a morphine addiction. Prine’s bygone-era fingerpicking is simple, but masterful, and his words are accessible yet skin-deep: “There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes… ” It rings over and over again, long after the tune is finished.
- Dec 14th Ramblin Jack Elliott performs with John Prine
John Prine w Ramblin' Jack Elliott
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 8:00 PM
Golden State Theatre Monterey, CA
One of the last true links to the great folk traditions of this country, with over 40 albums under his belt, Ramblin' Jack Elliott is considered one of the country's legendary foundations of folk music.
Long before every kid in America wanted to play guitar — before Elvis, Dylan, the Beatles or Led Zeppelin — Ramblin' Jack had picked it up and was passing it along. From Johnny Cash to Tom Waits, Beck to Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder to Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead to The Rolling Stones, they all pay homage to Ramblin' Jack Elliott.
In the tradition of roving troubadours Jack has carried the seeds and pollens of story and song for decades from one place to another, from one generation to the next. They are timeless songs that outlast whatever current musical fashion strikes today's fancy.
His tone of voice is sharp, focused and piercing. All that and he plays the guitar effortlessly in a fluid flat-picking perfected style. He was a brilliant entertainer.... Most folk musicians waited for you to come to them. Jack went out and grabbed you..... Jack was King of the Folksingers. Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One
Two time Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter, John Prine, is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Forty-five years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good. He is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member whose classic debut album, simply titled John Prine, is recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame.Prine’s songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Tom T. Hall, the Everly Brothers, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, and many others. But his genius isn’t found in his resume, it’s found in the brilliance of lyrics from his large catalog of songs.
He has collaborated with musical heroes from Bruce Springsteen to Mac Wiseman, and has been name-checked in songs by Country Music Hall of Famer, Vince Gill, and contemporary country songbird Kacey Musgraves. John’s music has stayed as relevant as ever. Prine is an Americana Music Honors & Awards winner for lifetime achievement in songwriting and was recently awarded the prestigious PEN Lyrics Award. He continues to record and perform at sold out shows all over the US, Canada, and Europe.
- â€śLetâ€™s Float Commodoreâ€™s Boatâ€ť Fundraiser Concert Featuring: Ramblinâ€™ Jack Elliott Nov 5th!
Spaulding Marine Center’s “Let’s Float Commodore’s Boat” Fundraiser Concert
Featuring: Ramblin’ Jack Elliott Saturday, November 5th 2 PM – 6 PM
Our dear friend and local sailing legend, Warwick “Commodore” Tompkins needs all of our help! (See page 65 of the Sep 2016 issue of LATITUDE 38 for this full story)
FLASHGIRL, his beloved Wylie 39 was struck by lightning while anchored in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu. Flashgirl was partially sunk with all her systems destroyed.
Join us for an afternoon filled with fun, live music, barbeque, refreshments and friendship to raise funds for Flashgirl’s refit! Music provided by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, The Waterfront Pickers, Billy D and musical friends. Delicious beer provided by Lagunitas Brewing Co!
$50 Donation Requested -This event will sell out-
To RSVP Call 415.332.3179
e-mail email@example.com, or visit http://spauldingcenter.org/events.html
Foot of Gate Five Road Sausalito, CA 94965
- R J Elliott Is Back East - Don't Miss Him
Always the inspiration to many of us, Ramblin ' Jack is on a 3 week tour of the East, Canada and Texas. Some would say these are different countries - and to some - they are. Please don't miss this national treasure - traveling our amazing country and telling the tales of our history and so much more.
Happy to report that Jack sounds better than ever and just last week had an amazing jam with Bob Weir and rocker Sammy Hagar at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley for the KIDDO! Foundation. (RARE moment for sure!!!)
Jack is featured on Bob Weir's new release "Blue Mountain" of cowboy songs - out soon !
Check the site often for updates. Support live music and go listen to our nation's best storyteller that still rambles and lives life in the moment. They threw the mold away on this one. He's a true gem.
- Rambln' Jack to play Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival
Santa Clarita’s rich Western heritage takes center stage each year at the Cowboy Festival. This year marks the 23rd annual event and looking back, some residents may wonder why the City hosts this Festival, which attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year.
More than two decades ago, City leaders were inspired by the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. They saw an opportunity to create a unique celebration of Santa Clarita’s own Western history – from art and music to film and television. In 1994, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival made its debut, honoring the authentic Old West through music, poetry, cowboy gear, food and storytelling in a setting that was unique to the area…and the rest is history!
Although elements of the event have changed over the years, Santa Clarita’s Cowboy Festival has always delivered a one-of-a-kind, multi-day lineup of music, food, entertainment and activities for Western enthusiasts of all ages.
This year’s Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is guaranteed to delight attendees of all ages. Due to filming taking place at Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio, the Cowboy Festival has set up camp in Historic Old Town Newhall. Show-stopping performances by the best musical acts in Western, Bluegrass, Americana and Spoken Word genres will be held at the Canyon Theater Guild and The Repertory East Playhouse. The Cowboy Festival comes to life on Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24, 2016 with the sights, sounds and swagger of Cowboy life at William S. Hart Park, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Attendees will be surrounded by life on the American Frontier as performers serenade, vendors serve up BBQ treats, and vendors offer one-of-a-kind gear and goods celebrating the Western past with the flair of today.
As the Cowboy Festival continues to grow in popularity, several regional venues and community partners are working with the City to offer four days chock full of events and entertainment. The fun begins with Cowboy events on Wednesday, April 20 in Old Town Newhall, continuing through the Cowboy Festival weekend on April 23 and 24. With so many exciting additions, one thing’s for sure: this year’s Cowboy Festival is sure to be the best yet!
RAMBLIN JACK performs April 22nd TICKETS
- Happy New Year from Ramblin' Jack Elliott
The year rolled along like a wandering cattle herd throught the Texas badlands....with tours of the North East, Mid-West, all over Texas and the Northwest.
This year you'll see Jack appearing in San Franciscio in March and in Southern California in late Spring. Check the website often for update as they come in.
Adios and Happy New Year.....for now!
- Jack Elliott & John Prine LIVE in December
Ramblin' Jack has returned from a successful Texas tour and will join John Prine for performances at The Warfield in San Francisco, Harris Center in Folsom and Van Duzer Theatre in Arcata. Check outthis great shot of Elliott with his old pal and all around rodeo champion, cowboy Larry Mahan~