Opinion: The Unofficial Americana Issue

Taking a close look at two music legends this week

Ramblin’ Jack Elliott is always up for an adventure; the faces and places change, but the roads still look the same. PHOTO: Contributed

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

This week is sort of an unofficial Americana Issue, thanks to Adam Joseph’s cover story on Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and my feature on the new Guy Clark documentary Without Getting Killed or Caught. Granted, we could put out an outlaw-country-folk-themed issue just about every week in Santa Cruz thanks to the music’s rich history here, and constant influx of touring and local Americana talent, but with Elliott coming to Moe’s Alley this month, and Tamara Saviano’s documentary screening at the Rio on Sept. 15, this is a chance to dive in to the history of two music legends.

Joseph dives deep in his cover story, and he brings an appropriately freewheeling feel to his profile of 90-year-old maverick Elliott. Interestingly, one of the musicians he quotes when discussing Ramblin’ Jack’s influence is Clark, who once said he picked up “that talking thing” in his songwriting from Elliott. Without Getting Killed or Caught, in turn, delves into Clark’s influence on other songwriters, and packs plenty of surprises in regards to the Texas singer-songwriter’s life and work. It also has a great section on the rise of Americana music in the ’90s, when Clark reached a new level of critical and popular appreciation, and fans who were around here in that era will remember the thrill of that time. But whether you were or not, I think the stories in this issue capture the raw, unpredictable energy that makes us love the music so much.



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