Ryan Irelan

is building Mijingo.

The Steve Goodman Train

Previously, I was talking about the intersection of John Prine and Roger Ebert during the Chicago folk revival.

Another key player in that—and one less well-known because of his early death—is Steve Goodman. Steve who?

Steve “The guy who wrote City of New Orleans” Goodman, that’s who.

Steve Goodman also penned songs that Jimmy Buffet covered and is considered the songwriters songwriter. I discovered Steve through John Prine and then started digging more and eventually got ahold of some of Steve’s first show at Austin City Limits in 1977 on DVD through the Austin Public Library.

On that DVD I was introduced to the Steve I had read about and heard about in interviews with his friend and contemporaries. His high-energy performance of The Twentieth Century is Almost Over was my favorite of the set.

(I’ve been to two Austin City Limits tapings, but oh how I wish I could’ve been in the audience of some of those early tapings. What an amazing history.)

Steve Goodman was diganosed with leukemia in 1969, at only 20 years old, and fought it off for the next 14 years, until he died in 1984. He was only 36 years old.

And just to keep Ebert tied into this, he wrote a great tribute to Steve in 2012.

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