Founded in 1958 by Ed Pearl, the Ash Grove became one of the most important music venues of the 1960's. While focusing primarily on blues, folk and bluegrass, the LA club also presented gospel, rock n' roll and world music. It was Pearl's belief that music had the ability to communicate across social and political barriers. As such, the club became a vital cultural center for all types of artists and music lovers amidst the political tumult of the 1960's. The club suffered a series of three mysterious fires starting in 1969, the last of which resulted in the closing of the club in 1973.
Philip Melnick helped conceptualize the Ash Grove cabaret, was its first general manager, and photographed many of the historic folk and blues concerts that took place there.