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“I knew...that there was a folk club in Los Angeles called the Ash Grove. I’d seen posters of folk shows at the Ash Grove and used to dream about playing there.”
— Bob Dylan, Chronicles

The ASh grove Legend

    Bob Dylan dreamed of playing there. Bonnie Raitt called it crucial and legendary for its many musical, social and political connections. Mick Jagger thanked the owner for the musical education he received there. 

     From 1958 until its closing in 1973 the Ash Grove was Los Angeles's preeminent roots music venue. In a time of increasingly successful commercial pop and folk music, the visionary owner, Ed Pearl championed the most obscure, raw and talented performers from across the United States.

    These unrecognized artists went on to become the legendary icons of blues, bluegrass, and folk, many making their first trip west to play the Ash Grove. Among the thousands of artists to perform on its stage were Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Big Mama Thornton, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson. If they were authentic and had something to say, Ed booked them.

    At the same time, Pearl cultivated a devoted group of young, aspiring musicians who came night after night to listen and learn at the feet of these musical masters. Watching every note played, hearing every story told, these Ash Grove alumni went on to become legends in their own right. Musicians like Taj Majal, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead incorporated the traditional instruments and licks they absorbed at the Ash Grove into their own bands and changed the sound of contemporary music.

    Never a businessman, always operating on a shoestring and breaking all the rules, Pearl made the Ash Grove his platform to change the world. He fused the Ash Grove's traditional music with the radical politics of that turbulent era that altered the world. It became an experimental classroom and cultural center where people exchanged ideas and musical riffs on and offstage and where patrons and artists could really interact. It was a mixing place for people from widely different backgrounds, where the rich rubbed elbows with the working class, where celebrities, students, hippies, Black Panthers and truck drivers all came together.

    Those who came to the Ash Grove say it was more of a home than a club, and that there never was a place like it, before or since. Time and again, eminent musicians, artists, filmmakers, educators, community activists and public servants tell how the Ash Grove changed their lives.

   And then, the club was burned down… not once, but three times.


“I can’t think of a better lens through which to view such an important part of our cultural history than a documentary on this wonderful club.”
— Bonnie Raitt
“Ed Pearl is one of the most creative and thoughtful people who ever presented folk music in the U.S.A.”
— Pete Seeger
“It looms large in my history because that is where I met Roger McGuinn. If there had been no Ash Grove, there would have been no Byrds.”
— David Crosby
“I got my improvisational approach from Scotty Stoneman... the first guy to set me on fire.... I went down to hear him the first time at the Ash Grove in L.A. in 1965.... The place was transfixed.”
— Jerry Garcia
“At this place in West L.A. at that time you could have this education and not go wrong. People say, ‘How did you learn this music?’ I said, ‘that’s how, by being at the Ash Grove, with Ed, by the bar at my chair.”
— Ry Cooder

The Filmmakers


Based out of Santa Monica, California, Concurrent Collective Productions develops and produces creative content with a heavy emphasis on feature screenplay development, music driven narratives, and branded content marketing.. Their collective connects and brings together promising young filmmakers and artists from across the country to collaborate on inspiring original works.  


Executive Producer / Jerry Kay

A former Ash Grove employee, who video-recorded a series of interviews back stage at the Ash Grove, all lost in the fires. Inspired by Ash Grove performances of Luis Valdez's El Teatro Campesino, Kay spent six years as a full-time organizer for Cesar Chavez's United Farm Worker's Union. For five years, he co-produced and hosted a live folk jazz and gospel music radio show on Santa Cruz, California's NPR station, KUSP. Kay co-produced a recording of Hawaiian songs, The Tau Moe Family with Bob Brozman, designated an outstanding folk recording by the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center.

Writer, Director / Samuel Curtis

A musician and recent graduate of the prestigious Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts, his film, “the Piano. The Ballerina. The Rain." was selected and honored at the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival. His 2013 music video, “Just a Girl” premiered nationally on the television network CMT.  In the summer of 2014 he was chosen as the Filmmaker-in-Residence for the Sarasota Film Festival directing a feature documentary film celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of a predominantly African-American neighborhood in South Florida called “Newtown.” As a result he has been offered the position Director of Education for the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival.

Producer, Editor / Spencer Showalter

Spencer has been Samuel Curtis's co-producer since attending film school together. In Los Angeles, Spencer became lead photographer and videographer for the LA Music Blog, making him an integral part of the LA music scene. His Artist Promos have been featured on Buzzfeed.com attracting thousands of views from around the world He recently directed the debut music video for Ben Taylor’s upcoming album, “Clouds in the Dirt.” Spencer is also currently producing and developing marketing videos for such companies as Red Bull Business Insights

Director of Photography, Visuals Supervisor / Drew Angle

Associate Producer / Aiyanna Elliott

Aiyana Elliott is an award winning filmmaker, selected by Variety as one of the top ten Digital Video directors to watch. Her feature film, The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack was awarded The Special Jury Prize for Artistic Achievement at the Sundance Film Festival and she was awarded the IFP Anthony Radziwill Documentary Achievement Award





   Under the direction of Aiyana Elliott, Sundance-award-winning daughter of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, we have interviewed over thirty past Ash Grove performers former Ash Grove staff, and notable patrons. 

   We filmed and recorded the Ash Grove's 2008 50th Anniversary UCLA Royce Hall sell-out concerts and workshops and the organizing of the event.

   We have gathered archival footage, photos, fliers and original taped Ash Grove concerts music of the performers.

   We are now working to complete a first rough edit of the film by early 2015, while locating and arranging licensing for necessary archival film, photographs and music.

   Remaining to be filmed are interviews of former Ash Grove performers and staff and documenting who was responsible for setting the fires, for what reasons and what transpired later.

   To complete the film, financing will be required for editing, licensing, legal and technical processing. The licensing costs alone for film, photographs and recorded music is estimated to be about $150,000. A minimum of $200,000 to $300,000 could get us close to finishing. We will take every possible course that cuts costs as long as we can tell the Ash Grove's story in a manner befitting its history and legacy. 

   Due to the birth of twins, Aiyana Elliott has taken a reduced role as an associate producer and two young filmmakers and musicians, Samuel Curtis and Spencer Showalter are now directing the project.