Rankin Productions Presents Music Legend Ramblin’ Jack Elliott in Kingston on Fri. Sept. 23!


Hi friends, neighbours and music lovers,

Holy smokes!

This is truly a great one folks…

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, the music legend who has had a huge influence on the lives and careers of countless musicians around the world (Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits among many others) is coming to Kingston! He’s been around a long time but he’s still putting out great music (as evidenced by his 2009 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album).

This is an opportunity to spend an evening with a true music legend. Jack is not only a uniquely gifted singer and songwriter, he’s also a famously engaging raconteur and he certainly has a wealth of stories to tell.

This is a small venue and it should sell out pretty quickly. The tickets don’t go on sale to the public until late next week but as a subscriber to Al’s mailing list you have first crack at them at a special advanced price of just 25 bucks!  Just email Al at alrankin@xplornet.ca and he will save you tickets. Pick them up at Brian’s Record Option anytime before Sat. Sept. 10.  Here are the details and some bio on 2 time Grammy Award winner Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

Friday, September 23 – 8 pm

Octave Theatre, 711 Dalton Ave.
Tickets: $25 in advance, available at Brian’s Record Option, 381 Princess St. Reserve by emailing Al if you’re on his mailing list and then pick them up at Brian’s by Sept.10.

Ramblin’ Jack Bio (from his official website)

“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

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 U.S.A.’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

There are no degrees of separation between Jack and the real thing. He is the guy who ran away from his Brooklyn home at fourteen to join the rodeo and learned his guitar from a cowboy.  In 1950, he met Woody Guthrie, moved in with the Guthrie family and traveled with Woody to California and Florida, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters. Jack became so enthralled with the life and composer of This Land Is Your Land, The Dust Bowl Ballads, and a 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.”

In 1954, along with folksinging pals Frank Robinson and Guy Carawan, Jack journeyed south through Appalachia, Nashville and to New Orleans to hear authentic American country music.  He later made this the basis for his talking song, 912 Greens.

In 1955 Jack married and traveled to Europe, bringing his genuine American folk, cowboy and blues repertoire and his guitar virtuosity, inspiring a new generation of budding British rockers, from Mick Jagger to Eric Clapton.

When he returned to America in 1961, he met another young folksinger, Bob Dylan at Woody Guthrie’s bedside, and mentored Bob.  Jack has continued as an inspiration for every roots-inspired performer since.

Along the way he learned the blues first-hand from Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, the Reverend Gary Davis, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Jesse Fuller and Champion Jack Dupree.

He has recorded forty albums; wrote one of the first trucking songs, Cup of Coffee, recorded by Johnny Cash; championed the works of new singer-songwriters, from Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson to Tim Hardin; became a founding member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue; and continued the life of the traveling troubadour influencing Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Tom Russell, The Grateful Dead and countless others.

In 1995, Ramblin’ Jack received his first of four Grammy nominations and the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, for South Coast (Red House Records).

In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded Jack the National Medal of the Arts, proclaiming, “In giving new life to our most valuable musical traditions, Ramblin’ Jack has himself become an American treasure.”

In 2000, Jack’s daughter, filmmaker, Aiyana Elliott produced and directed The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack, her take on Jack’s life and their fragile relationship, winning a Special Jury Prize from the Sundance Film Festival.

Through it all—though agents, managers, wives and recording companies have tried—Jack resisted being molded into a commercial commodity.  He played his shows without a written set list or including any songs that did not ring with his gut feeling of what mattered to him.

Ramblin’ Jack’s life of travels, performances and recordings is a testament to the America of lore, a giant land of struggle, hard luck and sometimes even of good fortune.  Ramblin’ Jack takes us to places that spur us on to the romance and passion of life in the tunes and voices of real people.

At eighty years of age, Ramblin’ Jack is still on the road, still seeking those people, places, songs and stories that are hand-crafted, wreaking of wood and canvas, cowhide and forged metal.  You’ll find him in the sleek lines of a long haul semi-truck, in the rigging of an old sailing ship, in the smell of a fine leather saddle.

Better yet, find him at The Octave Theatre in Kingston on Friday Sept.23!

Roadhouse Sun by Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses

CD Review
Title: Roadhouse Sun
Artist: Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses
Label: Lost Highway
Released: 2009
Stars: 4.0

I saw the brilliant movie Crazy Heart starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal yesterday and it changed my life a little bit. Discovering a new artist that rocks you to your very foundation and connects with your spirit is a rare thing, but Ryan Bingham, who sings the Golden Globe winning, Oscar nominated song, The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart), co-written by Bingham and T-Bone Burnett, has done just that. With his beautiful doe eyes, old soul, and whiskey & cigarettes voice, he’s grabbed my attention and won’t let go.

Last year, Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses released their second album for Lost Highway RecordsRoadhouse Sun – to positive critical reviews. Bingham, although born in New Mexico, calls Austin, Texas home and as that’s a place I’ve spent a bit of time in on and off since 1985, it fostered my love for roots rock that’s peppered with country, Cajun, and blues.

Ryan, a former rodeo and roadhouse performer, and his accomplished band: Corby Schaub (guitar & mandolin), Matt Smith (drums) and newest member, Elijah Ford (bass) have released a 12 track collection of personal, political, hard-living, superior country cross-over songs on Roadhouse Sun. Imagine a cocktail mixed with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson and you will have an idea of the flavor of this offering. Influenced by Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others, Bingham sounds like someone much older than his 28 years and doesn’t hesitate to offer up his personal, painful experiences for the sake of his songwriting. Thoughtful, honest lyrics punctuate authentic, enthusiastic southwestern melodies and while some of his lyrics may be somewhat clichéd, Bingham’s voice will hold you enslaved.

Roadhouse Sun is an album with style and substance and it opens with Day Is Done, a slide steel rocker infused with wailin’ blues, followed by Dylan’s Hard Rain, an alt-country-folk-rock political anthem for these times that pays tribute to the 60s. Tell My Mother I Miss Her So is a foot-stomping, barn-burner of a folk ditty and Country Roads, a harmonica-laced highway rocker. The slightly Spanish, sparse acoustic ballad Snake Eyes features a bittersweet vocal performance akin to Bingham’s on The Weary Kind and is one of my favourites. Change Is has been described as “seven minutes of meditative, hypnotic riffing that builds to a near-psychedelic crescendo as Bingham spins his tale of empowerment and responsibility”, but it’s not my favourite track on the album. I prefer the slower tempo, piano and steel guitar stylings of the Rollin’ Highway Blues and the humourous political rant, Hey Hey Hurray.

For me, this quote says it all:

Smokey and yearning, Bingham’s songs of border-town heartbreak tremble like living, breathing things- Epic yet intimate, rugged but crafted, Bingham forces you to hang on his every whiskey-drenched word. – Matt Diehl, BlackBook

I’d really love to see Ryan team up with Jack White to write some songs because I think that pairing could inspire some explosive thunderbolts of musical genius. If he doesn’t succumb to the bottle that almost swallowed Bad Blake whole in Crazy Heart, Ryan Bingham has one helluva future ahead of him and I want to bear witness to it.