Best Folk-Music Venue - 2000
To hear Rambling Jack Elliot sing his epic talking blues, "The 912 Greens," is to travel from New York's Washington Square to the back alleys of the French Quarter, bustin' through the Smokey Mountains with Guy and Frank, looking for a five-string-banjo player named Billy Fair who lived at 912 Toulouse St. It's the stuff of legend, a verbal history that Elliot has alternately tarnished and embellished for nearly half-a-century. He's folk music's Jack Kerouac, the last of the Brooklyn cowboys, a spinner of myths, a teller of tales, protégé of Woody Guthrie and mentor of Bob Dylan. The Focal Point, now located at 2720 Sutton Ave. in Maplewood, has been bringing such artists to town for the last quarter-century. The folk-music venue, which moved from its long-established home on Big Bend Boulevard in Webster Groves late last year, is continuing the tradition. The lineup for this fall includes British folk guitar master John Renbourn, bluesman Dave Van Ronk and hometown National Steel guitarist Tom Hall. For more information about Focal Point's fall schedule of concerts, call 314-781-4200.