RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT

(August 1, 1931)

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT (born Elliot Charles Adnopoz; August 1, 1931) is an American folk singer and performer.

Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents in 1931, he attended Midwood High School in Brooklyn and graduated in 1949. Elliott grew up inspired by the rodeos at Madison Square Garden, and wanted to be a cowboy. Encouraged instead to follow his father's example and become a surgeon, Elliott rebelled, running away from home at the age of 15 to join Col. Jim Eskew's Rodeo, the only rodeo east of the Mississippi. They traveled throughout the Mid-Atlantic states and New England. He was only with them for three months before his parents tracked him down and had him sent home, but Elliott was exposed to his first singing cowboy, Brahmer Rogers, a rodeo clown who played guitar and five-string banjo, sang songs, and recited poetry. Back home, Elliott taught himself guitar and started busking for a living. Eventually he got together with Woody Guthrie and stayed with him as an admirer and student.

"Nobody I know—and I mean nobody—has covered more ground and made more friends and sung more songs than the fellow you're about to meet right now. He's got a song and a friend for every mile behind him. Say hello to my good buddy, Ramblin' Jack Elliott." Johnny Cash, The Johnny Cash Television Show, 1969

With banjo player Derroll Adams, he toured the United Kingdom and Europe. By 1960, he had recorded three folk albums for the UK record label Topic Records. In London, he played small clubs and pubs by day and West End cabaret nightclubs at night. When he returned to the States, Elliott found he had become renowned in American folk music circles. Woody Guthrie had the greatest influence on Elliott. Guthrie's son, Arlo, said that because of Woody's illness and early death, Arlo never really got to know him, but learned his father's songs and performing style from Elliott. Elliott's guitar and his mastery of Guthrie's material had a big impact on Bob Dylan when he lived in Minneapolis. When he reached New York, Dylan was sometimes referred to as the 'son' of Jack Elliott, because Elliott had a way of introducing Dylan's songs with the words: "Here's a song from my son, Bob Dylan." Dylan rose to prominence as a songwriter; Elliott continued as an interpretative troubadour, bringing old songs to new audiences in his idiosyncratic manner. Elliott also influenced Phil Ochs, and played guitar and sang harmony on Ochs' song "Joe Hill" from the Tape from California album. Elliott also discovered singer-songwriter Guthrie Thomas in a bar in Northern California in 1973, bringing Thomas to Hollywood where Thomas' music career began.

Elliott appeared in Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue concert tour and played "Longheno de Castro" in Dylan's movie Renaldo and Clara. In the movie, he sings the song "South Coast" by Lillian Bos Ross and Sam Eskin, from whose lyric the character's name is derived.

"My name is Longheno de Castro

My father was a Spanish grandee

But I won my wife in a card game

To Hell with those lords o'er the sea"

Elliott plays guitar in a traditional fingerpicking style, which he matches with his laconic, humorous storytelling, often accompanying himself on harmonica. His singing has a strained, nasal quality which the young Bob Dylan emulated. His repertoire includes American traditional music from various genres, including country, blues, bluegrass and folk. Elliott's nickname comes not from his traveling habits, but rather the countless stories he relates before answering the simplest of questions. Folk singer Odetta claimed that her mother gave him the name, remarking, "Oh, Jack Elliott, yeah, he can sure ramble on!" His authenticity as a folksy, down-to-earth country boy, despite being a Jewish doctor's son from Brooklyn, and his disdain for other folk singers, were parodied by the Folksmen (Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer) in the satirical documentary A Mighty Wind in the name of their "hit" album Ramblin'. A Mighty Wind also referred to a former member of the New Main Street Singers, Ramblin' Sandy Pitnick, a somewhat geeky-looking white man in a cowboy hat, apparently in parody of Elliott. Elliott's first recording in many years, South Coast, earned him his first Grammy Award in 1995. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998. His long career and strained relationship with his daughter Aiyana were chronicled in her 2000 film documentary, The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack. At the age of 75, he changed labels and released I Stand Alone on the ANTI- label, with an assortment of guest backup players including members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He said his intention was to title the album Not for the Tourists, because it was recorded in response to his daughter's request for songs he loved but never played in concert. When asked why he did not, he told her, "These songs are not for the tourists." In 2012 he was featured on two tracks (4, 12) on the album Older Than My Old Man Now by Loudon Wainwright III.

ALISON KRAUSS

(July 23, 1971)

ALISON MARIA KRAUSS (July 23, 1971) is an American bluegrass-country singer and musician. She entered the music industry at an early age, winning local contests by the age of ten and recording for the first time at fourteen. She signed with Rounder Records in 1985 and released her first solo album in 1987. She was invited to join the band with which she still performs, Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS), and later released her first album with them as a group in 1989.

She has released fourteen albums, appeared on numerous soundtracks, and helped renew interest in bluegrass music in the United States. Her soundtrack performances have led to further popularity, including the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, an album also credited with raising American interest in bluegrass, and the Cold Mountain soundtrack, which led to her performance at the 2004 Academy Awards.

As of 2012, she has won 27 Grammy Awards from 41 nominations, tying her with Quincy Jones as the most awarded living recipient, second only to classical conductor Georg Solti, who holds the record for most wins with 31. She is the most awarded singer and the most awarded female artist in Grammy history. At the time of her first, the 1991 Grammy Awards, she was the second youngest winner (currently tied as the ninth youngest).

J. E. MAINER

(July 20, 1898 – June 12, 1971)

J. E. MAINER (July 20, 1898 – June 12, 1971) was an American old time fiddler who followed in the wake of Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers.

Joseph Emmett Mainer grew up on a farm in the mountains near Weaverville, North Carolina and learned to play the banjo and fiddle from an early age. Since Wade, his brother, also was interested in learning to play the banjo, he left that to Wade and concentrated on the fiddle. Soon, Mainer began performing at local country barn dances. He found work at a textile mill in Knoxville, Tennessee but moved to Concord, North Carolina in 1922 for another work in a mill.

Mainer's fame as a fiddler rose and sponsored by the Crazy Water Crystals in 1933, he and his newly formed band consisting of J. E. on fiddle, Wade Mainer on banjo, and Zeke Morris on guitar, made their radio debut on WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina calling themselves "J.E.Mainer and his Crazy Mountaineers." The band appeared on several radio stations in the following years until 1935, when they received a recording contract on. In August the same year, the Mountaineers, with the addition of "Daddy" John Love, recorded for Bluebird Records. Wade Mainer and Zeke Morris temporarily left the band in the early 1936 to form a duo. In the meantime Ollie Bunn, Howard Bumgardner and Clarence Todd replaced Wade, Zeke and "Daddy" John Love on the next recording session. In the summer of 1936, Wade and Zeke returned to record with "the mountaineers". The next year, in 1937, Wade Mainer formed the "Sons of the Mountaineers". Shortly, a new change of personnel occurred when Leonard "Lester" Stokes and George Morris became members of "the mountaineers" calling themselves "Handsome and Sambo". They added Snuffy Jenkins on banjo on the following recording session. In late 1938, Stokes and Morris were once more replaced by Clyde Moody and Jay Hugh Hall. The band continued to perform on radio stations in both North and South Carolina.

The Mountaineers disbanded at the outbreak of World War II, but Mainer continued to record in the late 1940s, together with his sons, Glenn and Curly, for King Records. Between 1967 and 1971, the year of his death, literally hundreds of post-war recordings were released on Rural Rhythm Records. Mainer will be inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame on October 11, 2012.

BENTON FLIPPEN

(July 18, 1920– June 28, 2011)

James Benton Flippen(July 18, 1920– June 28, 2011) was an old-time fiddler from Mount Airy, North Carolina. He was one of the last surviving members of a generation of performers born in the early 20th century playing in the Round Peak style centering on Surry County, North Carolina. His contemporaries included Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed, and Earnest East.

Flippen learned to play old-time music early in life from his father, uncles, and brothers. He composed several original tunes and performed with the Camp Creek Boys and the Smokey Valley Boys.

Flippen was a recipient of theNorth Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1990.

Flippen gained popularity among the old-time music community for his unique approach to fiddling. Having rather large hands, he discovered the best way to get around the neck was to slide his index and middle fingers, rather than fingering up and down the scale with all four fingers as most people do— including his mentor, Esker Hutchins. On some tunes, he slid up the neck with one finger as he nearly simultaneously slid down with another. Where most fiddlers make a "D" chord on the neck with the index and ring finger, Flippen did it with index and middle finger. His bowing was described as smooth and heavily shuffled, having been perfected over many years of playing for square dances. As Paul Brown describes in the liner notes to Old Time, New Times, "It cries the blues, shouts a spiritual message, resounds with the celebration of a square dance or house party. It's full of syncopation and stretch, yet solidly down-to-earth."

Flippen also had a unique two-finger banjo style. He said he found it difficult to play clawhammer banjo, and though he liked hearing it, the three-finger bluegrass style wasn't quite for him, so he came up with his own heavily syncopated two-finger picking style that combined drive and charm.

"WOODY" GUTHRIE

(July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967)

Woodrow Wilson "WOODY" GUTHRIE (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional, and children's songs, along with ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This machine kills fascists displayed on his guitar.

His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land". Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Hunter, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger,Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jerry Garcia, Jay Farrar, Bob Weir, Jeff Tweedy, Bob Childers, Sammy Walker and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.

Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when he traveled with displaced farmers from Oklahomato California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour." Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups, though he was seemingly not a member of any.

Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children, including American folk musician Arlo Guthrie. Guthrie died from complications ofHuntington's disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians, including mentor relationships with Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan.

JOHN JORGENSON

(July 6, 1956)

JOHN JORGENSON (July 6, 1956) is an American musician. Although best known for his guitar work with bands such as the Desert Rose Band and The Hellecasters. Jorgenson is also proficient in the mandolin, mandocello, Dobro, pedal steel, piano, upright bass, clarinet,bassoon, and saxophone. While a member of the Desert Rose Band, Jorgenson won the Academy of Country Music's "Guitarist of the Year" award two consecutive years.

Jorgenson has also recorded or toured with many artists including Elton John, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash,Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr., Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti, Roy Orbison, Patty Loveless, Michael Nesmith, and Bonnie Raitt. [Wkipedia]

MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT

(July 3, 1893, or March 8, 1892 – November 2, 1966)

John Smith Hurt, better known as MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT (July 3, 1893, or March 8, 1892 – November 2, 1966) was an American country blues singer and guitarist. Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself how to play the guitar around age nine. He worked as a sharecropper and began playing at dances and parties, singing to a melodious fingerpicked accompaniment.

His first recordings, made for Okeh Records in 1928, were commercial failures, and he continued to work as a farmer. Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, located Hurt in 1963 and persuaded him to move to Washington, D.C., where he was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This helped further the American folk music revival, which had led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt's era.

Hurt performed on the university and coffeehouse concert circuit with other Delta blues musicians brought out of retirement. He also recorded several albums for Vanguard Records.

Hurt died in Grenada, Mississippi. Material recorded by him has been re-released by many record labels, and his songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Jerry Garcia, Beck, Doc Watson, John McCutcheon, Taj Mahal, Bruce Cockburn, David Johansen, Bill Morrissey, Gillian Welch,Josh Ritter, Guthrie Thomas, Parsonsfield, and Rory Block.

DAVE VAN RONK

(June 30, 1936 – February 10, 2002)

David Kenneth Ritz "Dave" Van Ronk (June 30, 1936 – February 10, 2002) was an American folk singer. An important figure in the American folk music revival and New York City's Greenwich Village scene in the 1960s, he was nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street".

Van Ronk's work ranged from old English ballads to blues, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing. He was also known for performing instrumentalragtime guitar music, especially his transcription of "St. Louis Tickle" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag". Van Ronk was a widely admired avuncular figure in "the Village", presiding over the coffeehouse folk culture and acting as a friend to many up-and-coming artists by inspiring, assisting, and promoting them. Folk performers whom he befriended include Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, and Joni Mitchell. Bob Dylan recorded Van Ronk's arrangement of the traditional song "House of the Rising Sun" on his first album, which The Animals turned into a chart-topping rock single in 1964, helping inaugurate the folk-rock movement.

Van Ronk received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in December 1997. He died in a New York hospital of cardiopulmonary failure while undergoing postoperative treatment for colon cancer.

LESTER FLATT

(June 19, 1914 – May 11, 1979)

LESTER RAYMOND FLATT (June 19, 1914 – May 11, 1979) was a bluegrass guitarist and mandolinist, best known for his collaboration with banjo picker Earl Scruggs in The Foggy Mountain Boys (popularly known as "Flatt and Scruggs").

Flatt's career spanned multiple decades, breaking out as a member of Bill Monroe's band during the 1940s and including multiple solo and collaboration works exclusive of Scruggs. He first reached a mainstream audience through his performance on "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", the theme for the network television hit The Beverly Hillbillies, in the early 1960s.

Flatt was born in Duncan's Chapel, Overton County, Tennessee, to Nannie Mae Haney and Isaac Columbus Flatt. A singer and guitarist, he first came to prominence as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1945. In 1948 he started a band with fellow Monroe alumnus Earl Scruggs, and for the next twenty years Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys were one of the most successful bands in bluegrass. When they parted ways in 1969, Flatt formed a new group, the Nashville Grass, hiring most of the Foggy Mountain Boys. His role as lead singer and rhythm guitar player in each of these seminal ensembles helped define the sound of traditional bluegrass music. He created a role in the Bluegrass Boys later filled by the likes of Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Peter Rowan and Del McCoury.

His rich lead voice is unmistakable in hundreds of bluegrass standards.

He is also remembered for his library of compositions. The Flatt songbook looms titanic for any student of American acoustic music. He continued to record and perform with that group until his death in 1979 of heart failure, after a prolonged period of ill health. Flatt was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985 with Scruggs. He was posthumously made an inaugural inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1991. His hometown of Sparta, Tennessee, held a bluegrass festival in his honor for a number of years, before being discontinued a few years prior to the death of the traditional host, resident Everette Paul England; Lester Flatt Memorial Bluegrass Day is part of the annual Liberty Square Celebration held in Sparta. Flatt and Scruggs were ranked No. 24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. They performed "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", which was used as the theme for the television show The Beverly Hillbillies. [Wikipedia]

NATHAN ABSHIRE

(June 27, 1913 – May 13, 1981)

NATHAN ABSHIRE (June 27, 1913 – May 13, 1981) was an American Cajun accordion player who, along with Iry LeJeune, was responsible for the renaissance of the accordion in Cajun music in the 1940s.

Learning the accordion at age six, he was influenced by his father, mother, and uncle all playing the accordion. Abshire first performed on the accordion in public at age eight. He continued playing at dance halls and parties through his teenage years. In the 1930s, he performed with and learned from fiddler Lionel Leleux and accordionist Amédé Ardoin. In 1935, he recorded six songs with the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, a group led by guitarist and singer Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc.

Abshire served in the U.S. military during World War II. After the war, he settled in Basile, Louisiana, where he played regularly at the Avalon Club. He released his best-known record, "Pine Grove Blues", in 1949, a song based on Amede Breaux's "Le Blues de Petit Chien", as well as several recordings on Swallow Records and Arhoolie Records in the 1960s. He appeared with Dewey Balfa and The Balfa Brothers at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967. Along with Balfa, Abshire devoted much of his time in the 1960s and 70s to promoting Cajun music through appearances at festivals, colleges, and schools throughout the United States.

Abshire was featured in Les Blank's 1971 documentary Spend It All and the 1975 PBS documentary, The Good Times Are Killing Me.He was also included in the documentary film, Les Blues de Balfa, along with Balfa.

He died in Basile, Louisiana in 1981 after living most his life there as the overseer of the town dump.