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Listen to Dave Van Ronk – The Inspiration for “Llewyn Davis” – On Mountain Stage


Larry Groce remembers Dave Van Ronk, who appeared on Mountain Stage in 1995:

“In the early sixties, pretty much every serious aspiring folkie with a thumb pick and four chords knew of Dave Van Ronk, even if they’d never heard him. As the age of singer-songwriters took shape with Bleeker and McDougal its mythical epicenter, Van Ronk was the burly, growly bohemian who always seemed to be in the mix - even if you were hearing about him third hand far from NYC.

I first heard his early Folkways recordings around 1963. I had graduated from the Kingston Trio of my pre-teen years to Van Ronk, Ian and Sylvia, Bob Gibson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Koerner, Ray and Glover, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and others. They were the folk section of my music world. Dylan was at its center. Blues, bluegrass, country and rock singers entered about the same time, but folk singers were my mainstream, especially as they evolved into singer-songwriters.

As you might imagine, I was excited to have Dave Van Ronk as a guest on Mountain Stage in 1995.  He was an archetype. He had a wicked sense of humor and the ability to massage the juice out of a beautiful bittersweet ballad like “Four Strong Winds” with his sandpaper voice.

I don’t know why the Coen Brothers chose to make “Inside Llewyn Davis”. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I read that they were partially inspired by Dave Van Ronk’s autobiography. I remember Dave as a bigger than life character who perhaps should have been in movies himself, if they had been real enough to fit his constitution.” -Larry Groce

Recorded 7-16-1995

“Where Were You Last Night”
“To All My Friends in Far Away Places”
“Four Strong Winds”

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