Ed Pearl is best known in L.A. music circles as the founder of the Ash Grove, a legendary Melrose Avenue coffee house and nightclub that introduced a generation of Angelenos to folk music and performers such as Ry Cooder and Pete Seeger. The Ash Grove closed its doors in 1973, but Pearl, who lives in Angeleno Heights, continued to stage shows and concerts from high schools to the Santa Monica pier and now the southern edge of Echo Park. This Sunday, June 19, the first of four concerts of the Ash Grove Summer Series will be held at Tropico de Nopal gallery on Beverly Boulevard.
This Sunday’s performance features features Alabama blues and gospel singer Bettie Mae Fikes and guitarist Bernie Pearl (Ed Pearl’s brother). Future concerts, which will be held on the third Sunday afternoon of the month, include the Swing Riots Quartette, playing a combination of gypsy and creole jazz as well as Klesmer and Romanian Horas, and the Latino sounds of Conjunto Jardin & Shiro Hurtado. The series is much more intimate affair than some of Pearl’s past events, which included producing a 1963 Hollywood Bowl concert that had Joan Baez introducing Bob Dylan. “That was a great event but this is more fun,” said Pearl, who many Echo Park area residents might recognize from his frequent posts on the Echo Elysian Forum message group.
How did Pearl end up producing concerts only a few blocks from his home?
A neighbor, Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, introduced Pearl to the Beverly Boulevard space owned by Reyes Rodriguez and Marialice Jacob. It turns out that Pearl had knew the couple from the years he and Jacob hosted radio shows on KPFK. “I didn’t know it was there place,” Pearl said. “I just took a chance and drove there on a Saturday and was amazed.”
After a trial run last summer, Pearl, Rodriguez and Jacob agreed to host another summer of the Ash Grove legacy. Sunday’s concert begins at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $15; senior and student tickets are $10. Click here to purchase tickets online.