Remembering the legend of the Ash Grove

The original Ashe Grove club in Los AngelesThe Los Angeles Times had an article about the famous LA club, Ash Grove, in Sunday’s edition of that newspaper. This comes as a prelude to the forthcoming 50th Anniversary celebration planned for April 18 – 20 at UCLA.

The Ash Grove first opened in LA July 1, 1958, originally at 8162 Melrose Avenue, and remained open for a period of a little over 15 years, before having to close due to fire damage. Established by Ed Pearl with the help of friends and family, it was far more than a coffee house or night club as it staged a whole range of music, with flamenco, folk, blues and rock’n’roll among other styles of music. The 250-seat auditorium, built in a former furniture warehouse, was the venue for the first west coast shows by Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.

It was a real hotbed of music and the list of acts that performed there included the Mother Maybelle Carter, Elizabeth Cotton, Country Boys, Country Gazette, Country Gentlemen, Hazel Dickens, The Dillards, The Greenbriar Boys, Richard Greene, John Hartford, John Herald, Kweskin Jug Band, New Lost City Ramblers, Peter Rowan, Mike Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Pete Seeger, Kilby Snow, Rosalie Sorrells and Mac Wiseman.

From 1974 through to 1995 concerts were staged at various venues in locations in the Los Angeles region. During the following year the club was located at Santa Monica Pier and it was there that other bluegrass and related acts appeared, such as Ralph Stanley, Laurie Lewis, Del McCoury, Chris Hillman, Mark O’Connor, Kathy Kallick, Peter Rowan, Kate Mackenzie, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Laurel Canyon Ramblers and Herb Pedersen.

Since 1998 music productions have taken place in San Pedro under the a non-profit foundation named Ash Grove Music

Details for the 50th Anniversary concerts and workshops can be found on the Ash Grove site. Of particular interest is the Hillbilly Fever workshop, which takes place at Noon on Saturday, April 19. Subtitled From Old Timey to beyond Bluegrass, the concert will include a special tribute to Clarence White. It features Roland White, Mike Seeger, Phil Boroff, Herb Pedersen, Leroy Mack and Peter Feldmann (moderator).

To read the full story from the LA Times go to their website.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.