October 4, 1969
Guitarist, singer, and fiddler Ray Bierl was born in Vancouver, B.C. (December 7, 1942), and raised in San Diego. A mostly self-taught musician, he earned a master’s degree in sociology and held a 30-year “temporary” job with the San Francisco Wastewater Department while performing and recording two solo albums: Cowboy Dancing (1991) and Any Place I Hang My Hat(2008). Bierl’s influences include Pete Seeger and the Weavers, New Lost City Ramblers, Jean Ritchie, Woody Guthrie, Stu Jamieson, Mississippi John Hurt, and Bob Dylan. Early exposure to European classical music, Mahalia Jackson, Bing Crosby, and popular artists of the 1940s and ’50s also shaped his interest in music. In the 1960s and ’70s, Bierl performed regularly as part of the Southern California folk scene. He is currently a member of the Bay Area band Hillbillies from Mars.