RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT
8 p.m. Friday, Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. $20 at the box office, (866) 468-3401 and ticketweb.com.
"Authenticity" in music, as Elvis Costello has pointed out, is basically nonsense. For every sharecropper or dockworker who moaned the blues or country from a deep and daily knowledge of hardship, there's at least one guy who spurned a comfortable life to become an entertainer and then an artist.
Ramblin' Jack Elliott's parents wanted him to become a doctor, but the Brooklyn lad was entranced by cowboys (he briefly joined a rodeo) and by Woody Guthrie (later a traveling companion), and his emulation of Guthrie began a country-folk career that has survived since the mid-1950s.
Having influenced and performed with Pete Seeger, the Dead, Dylan and countless more, Elliott has more recently worked with producer Joe Henry on the 2009 album "A Stranger Here," which picked up a Grammy. Now 83, he's still his own kind of cowboy singer, and he isn't faking it.
— Jon M. Gilbertson,
Special to the Journal Sentinel