Monday, September 22, 2008

Alan Acuff, Folksinger

It occurs to me that I haven't properly introduced myself here on this blog of mine so here goes... 

My name is Alan Acuff. I entertained professionally for about twenty years. During that time you could find me pickin' and grinnin' at resorts, saloons, and cafes throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California. I also produced national radio spots for Budweiser beer, opened for Bonnie Raitt, performed live on various public radio broadcasts, and when times got tough I worked at odd jobs here and there.

As a youngster I had an ambition to be a painter when I grew up. After high school I attended California Institute of the Arts where I wound up making video art instead of painting. I was pioneer in the early days of multimedia and performance art. In 2008 my art and music video's were feature by the Getty Museum and Research Institute in their landmark show California Video. They also interviewed me and included me in their book California Video: Artists and Histories.

In the early days of multimedia you couldn't make a living making music videos so after a brief stint in TV and radio advertising, I decided to pursue my interest in American folk music. In 1979, my good buddy Fred Walecki introduced me to Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Jack crashed at my Venice Beach pad for a while. 

Later on Jack returned the favor by driving me around Texas where he introduced me to Townes Van Zandt and Mickey White. Not long after that I started performing at Austin open mics. From there I progressed to bar gigs... I sorta got stuck in that rut for about two decades. Guess I should have been more ambitious but there I was playing the music I loved and making a living at it. Plus the joints where I played gave me cool T-shirts and free cheeseburgers. It just doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

Around 1981 I left Austin for Los Angeles where I studied acting, appeared in TV commercials and films, and continued to perform music. By 1987 I was suffering from a combination of Los Angeles smog and bad allergies. A doctor talked me into moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico where the  clean high desert air brought me some relief.

Pretty soon after moving to Santa Fe I was performing at the Santa Fe Hilton, the Bishop's Lodge, El Farol, the Coyote Cafe, and other local music spots. That's about as far as you can go in Santa Fe. Santa Fe didn't provide anything much in the way of other musical opportunities. So I returned to my art school roots. I took some photography classes and started a photography business. As a photographer I've worked for Car and Driver, Charter Bank, Lucchese Boots and many other clients.

Meanwhile some of my friends were encouraging me to study up on digital audio recording and to record some of the songs I wrote back in my checkered past. That's something I somehow never got around to in the old days. Could have been fear of success or just plain lack of ambition... I dunno... 

...and that brings us pretty much to the present. I'm just about finished converting part of my Santa Fe loft into a recording studio and then I'm going to make some recordings and videos which you'll find on my music website... coming soon! Please stay tuned!

This blog is a hodgepodge of memories, music reviews, and equipment reviews. It's dedicated to Ramblin' Jack Elliott and to everyone else who ever took the wrong road and just kept going because they were curious to see what was down the road and around the bend. I hope you'll enjoy visiting and reading, and I look forward to your comments.

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