The Ash Grove was … The Ash Grove IS!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestShare

The Ash Grove was … The Ash Grove IS! ** Save the Date! October 12, 2013, luncheon honoring The Ash Grove and Ed Pearl with a “Best of the West” award by the FAR-West Folk Music Association!

We hope to see many of you when we get together at the 10th Anniversary FAR-West Festival and Conference Hyatt Regency Hotel, Irvine, CA, October 10 – 13, 2013.

Visit http://www.far-west.org/conference2013.html, for more information on the event at a luncheon on Saturday, October 12. Now … A little more about the Ash Grove past and present, read on below for excerpts from a variety of public sources.

The Ash Grove and Ed Pearl with a “Best of the West” award by the FAR-West Folk Music Association!
We hope to see many of you when we get together at the 10th Anniversary FAR-West Festival and Conference Hyatt Regency Hotel, Irvine, CA, October 10 – 13, 2013. Visit http://www.far-west.org/conference2013.html, for more information on the event. at a luncheon on Saturday, October 12.

Now … A little more about the Ash Grove past and present, read on below for excerpts from a variety of public sources …

Ash Grove (music club)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Ash Grove was a folk music club located at 8162 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, founded in 1958 by Ed Pearl and named after the Welsh folk song, “The Ash Grove.”

In its short fifteen years, the Ash Grove forever altered the music scene in Los Angeles and helped many artists find a West Coast audience. Bob Dylan recalled that, “I’d seen posters of folk shows at the Ash Grove and used to dream about playing there….” He did.

The club was a locus of interaction between older folk and blues legends, such as Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Earl Hooker and Muddy Waters, and young artists that produced the ‘Sixties music revolution. Among those Pearl brought to the Ash Grove were Doc Watson, Pete Seeger, June Carter, Johnny Cash, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, Johnny Otis, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Ian and Sylvia, Kathy and Carol, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, New Lost City Ramblers, The Weavers, The Greenbriar Boys, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Luke “Long Gone” Miles, Barbara Dane, Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Mance Lipscomb, Guy and Candie Carawan, John Jacob Niles, Bukka White, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Shines, John Fahey, Willie Dixon, Lonnie Mack and Kris Kristofferson.

About Ed … ED PEARL had his first taste of producing folk music concerts as a student at UCLA in 1954 when he helped produce a Pete Seeger concert on campus. An avid guitar player, he studied with Bess Lomax Hawes — the daughter of John and sister of Alan Lomax, America’s greatest music collectors. Bess was the female member of the “Almanac Singers”, with Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Butch Hawes, et al. After various career jaunts, as a guitar teacher, bus driver, messenger, a gun shill at the LA County Fair, a playground director and a mathematics analyst at Edwards Air Force Base, in 1957, he and Kate Hughes began the process that led to the Ash Grove. Together, they produced their first, real concert – a sold-out flamenco extravaganza and then in the next months, two more sold-out concerts, visited four coffeehouses and then they were asked to book two nightclubs. Envisioning a different atmosphere, with financing from fellow music-lover and Standard Brands Paints VP Sid Greenberg, Ed embarked on a search for a locale for a club of his own. With friends and relatives contributing funds and cheap labor, the lease was signed and the site was converted into the Ash Grove.

The Ash Grove opened on Friday, July 11th, 1958 and for the next 15 years hundreds of notable artists, reflecting a variety of folk styles, blues, bluegrass, gospel and traditional work songs, appeared on the its stage. … Ed produced shows at the Ash Grove until November 1973, when the disaster of the third arson fire in four years closed the club. Next Ed raised funds for LA’s People’s College of Law, on whose behalf, he organized a series of very successful concerts along the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego, with Phil Ochs, Holly Near and Mimi Farina, among others.

For five years, on behalf of LAGLAS (the Los Angeles Group for Latin America Society) Ed produced concerts of Chilean groups Quilapayun, Inti-Ilimani, Los Parra and others, in addition to Mercedez Sosa of Mexico, Daniel Viglietti of Uruguay, Roy Brown of Puerto Rico and several other superb, progressive musicians.

Other notable productions include; 1976 a People’s Bi-Centennial, The Venice/SPARC show of 1980, The 1985 KPFK Winter-fest, Art Against Apartheid Show of 1987-8, The 1984 LA Olympics Reception, the PCL shows-Gil Scott-Heron, et al, The Ash Grove Wiltern 30th Anniversary show of 1988, with David Crosby and the Byrds, Willie Dixon, et al; the final Mime Troupe show; and The Ash Grove on the Santa Monica Pier. In 2008, “The Ash Grove 50th Anniversary” was celebrated at UCLA!

Ash Grove alumni who shared their appreciation for the anniversary celebration included Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, along with the likes of John Hammond, Barbara Dane, Bernie Pearl, The Freedom Singers, Michelle Shocked and numerous others. But the real star was the memory of a place in which so much music, so many ideas, and so many attitudes had the opportunity to come to full fruition. …

In a way, the Ash Grove was a victim of its own success, helping develop Los Angeles audiences for younger musicians who then needed larger venues for their concerts. But none of the city’s new clubs consistently emphasized the roots music that Pearl put at the heart of the Ash Grove’s line up.

After the Ash Grove closed in 1973, LA Times music critic Robert Hilburn wrote its obituary, which included an anecdote about the club’s influence on the Rolling Stones: “On his way out of the Ash Grove one night, Mick Jagger, a frequent visitor to the club, shook Pearl’s hand in gratitude. He simply wanted to thank Pearl for all the entertainment – and no doubt musical education – the club had given him.” And, Hilburn concluded, “The Ash Grove’s contribution to this city’s musical heritage was invaluable.”[5]

Legacy
Some 3,000 hours of recorded live performances at the Ash Grove have survived. In 2007 Aiyana Elliott, who made an award-winning 2000 documentary about the life of her father, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, began work on a film exploring the history of the Ash Grove. A three-day concert and workshop series commemorating the Ash Grove’s fiftieth anniversary was held April 18–20, 2008, at UCLA.[4] Many recordings from the Ash Grove are currently available from Wolfgang’s Vault (www.wolfgangsvault.com).

Continuing the Legacy …
Getting organized for the 2008 Fiftieth Anniversary, a group of Ash Grove and Ed Pearl “fans” rekindled the spirit of the Ash Grove. The Ash Grove Foundation has been active since then – putting on small festivals and concerts, often for causes, and always inviting the diverse Los Angeles community to enjoy the music and poetry of our communities.

The Ash Grove Foundation – Mission Statement
The Ash Grove Foundation is a community-based cultural arts organization that produces and promotes traditional, contemporary, and ground-breaking folk music from diverse cultures to spark social understanding and activism.
We work closely with local communities, artists and activists to share traditional art forms and foster opportunities for harmony, understanding and co-operation, in order to promote healthy communities, creative expression, communication and compassion.
The Ash Grove is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in Southern California and operating globally – on the ground, on-air and via the Internet. For more information, see:www.ashgrovemusic.com