Bobby Weir, Peter Rowan, Joan Baez and More Come Together for Ramblin’ Jack Elliott in San Francisco

January 29, 2024
Bobby Weir, Peter Rowan, Joan Baez and More Come Together for Ramblin’ Jack Elliott in San Francisco

Photo Credit: Dan Dion

On Sunday, January 28, various artists assembled for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund’s Tribute to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. The star-studded display of musicianship occurred at The Masonic in San Francisco. It featured a house band comprised of Joe Henry, Jason Crosby, Greg Leisz and David Piltch, who assisted special guests with short independent sets.

Throughout the staged presentation, a variety of music industry talents appeared on stage, covering music and performing originals deemed transferable for the night’s air of distinction. Following the initial trickle of performances from Sarah Lee Guthrie, Melissa Carper and Mike Beck, John Oates showed up for his take on Furry Lewis’ “Falling Down Blues.” 

In time, Peter Rowan appeared and cut into Jimmie Rodgers’ “Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8” to start, ultimately closing his stage time after a take on the traditional “The Cuckoo.” Taking on a piece of the recipient’s repertoire was Steve Earle, who performed Elliott’s own, “912 Green.” Ricky Lee Jones tapped Rowan for a collaborative take on “Me and Bobby McGee,” followed by a solo cover of the traditional “I Ride an Old Paint.”

Nathaniel Rateliff also added help during his set, welcoming St. Paul & The Broken Bones guitarist Browan Lollar for Hoyt Axton’s “Gypsy Moth,” and his own “And Its Still Alright.” Jackie Green lent his skills on “Old Blue,” prior to Jackson Brown’s delivery, which featured help from Earle on “Cocaine,” and a follow-up, sans guests, “Far From the Arms of Hunger.” 

Bay Area staple and Grateful Dead great Bobby Weir stopped by and added in Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and a special joint take on Elton Britt and The Skytoppers’ “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” with Joan Baez. The aforementioned folk songstress reappeared for her set, covering Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” before trading sit-ins and welcoming Weir on “Coconuts.” 

The night came for a notable finish, with Elliott paying tribute to the city with a take on Jesse Fuller’s “San Francisco Bay Blues.” Then, the entire ensemble of billed performers appeared for a collaborative finale, culminating in a musical delivery of traditional “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms.” Notably, the night also served as a celebration of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund’s 30th anniversary. 

Setlist notes via Setlist.FM.