Dave Van Ronk

Since his untimely death in 2002, Dave Van Ronk has received a new burst of attention and appreciation, most recently for his posthumous memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street, and the Coen Brothers film that was loosely based on it, Inside Llewyn Davis.

Van Ronk appeared at the Newport Folk Festival and was an insider in the scene that gave rise to Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Peter Paul and Mary.  But he made his reputation as an urban blues singer.  Originally from Brooklyn, the then-merchant seaman was encouraged to play professionally by Odetta.  Finger-picking his way through the years, he composed witty cultural commentary like "The Garden State Stomp,” tender love songs like “Another Time and Place,” and biting political protest like “Luang Prabang."

In the words of Bob Dylan: “Van Ronk could howl and whisper, turn blues into ballads and ballads into blues. I loved his style…In Greenwich Village, Van Ronk was king of the street, he reigned supreme.”

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