Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
|“He’s got a song and a friend for every mile behind him” -Johnny Cash, The Johnny Cash Television Show, 1969.
One of the last authentic links to the great folk traditions of this country, with over 40 albums under his belt, two-time GRAMMY-winner 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, 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; he plays the guitar effortlessly in a fluid, flat-picking, perfected style. A brilliant entertainer among fellow folk musicians waiting for you to come to them, Jack came out and grabbed you. Bob Dylan called him, “The King of the Folksingers”.
There are no degrees of separation between Jack and the real thing. He is the guy who ran away from his Brooklyn home at age 14 to join the rodeo and learned his guitar from a cowboy. In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie, moved in with the Guthrie family, traveling with Woody to California and Florida. Jack became so enthralled with the life and composer of This Land Is Your Land, The Dust Bowl Ballads, and the wealth of children’s songs that he completely absorbed the inflections and mannerisms, leading Guthrie to remark, “Jack sounds more like me than I do.”