Jim Ransom isn't usually mentioned alongside Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Dylan as an alumnus of the Gaslight Cafe, but it was there, in 1965, that his career began. Born in the Glen Cove neighborhood of Long Island, Ransom spent his teen years sneaking out to learn and play at folk’s Lower East Side mecca. After a yearlong layover in Philadelphia playing college campuses and small clubs, he found his way to Colorado. With the seemingly endless mountains providing a deep well of inspiration and a couple small venues—notably the Global Village Coffee House and the Colorado Folklife Center—to channel it, Ransom had all the ingredients he needed to flourish.
As amateur shutterbugs, Jim Ransom and Laura Benson founded Biscuit City, a company that sold postcards featuring their photography. A Volkswagen Bus was procured, keeping the two dry as they traversed the Rockies, selling, singing, and writing along the way. Unwittingly, they had laid the foundation for a record label. In 1973, Biscuit City issued Colorado Folk, a compilation of songs by fellow travelers, and distributed it, as well as a new line of posters. The successful LP’s proceeds were funneled into a Denver studio that became the destination for nearly every folk artist in Colorado, resulting in dozens of albums that found buyers throughout the region. “It’s So Profound,” from Ransom’s 1974 debut Just Come Along For The Ride, was written at the top of Independence Pass, between Leadville and Aspen. Combining the easygoing Colorado sound with Townes Van Zandt’s troubled outlaw storytelling, the album was a mountain jewel waiting to be unearthed. Ransom’s rambling ways persisted, and he found himself following his muse around the world for the next few decades.