Eli Dokson recently retired from his job as a public school superintendent in a small town in Colorado, but to those who first met him in the late Sixties or early Seventies, he will always be a guitar hero, for the great licks he put down as lead guitarist for various groups that formed at Stanford back then.
He's kept his chops up, too, over the years, playing in local bands. Now that he's retired, he has more time to devote to his weekend gigs, and he's in top form these days. He was always great at driving, rhythmic breaks on country songs but he's developed, or just discovered, a quieter, lyrical style for slower, jazzier numbers that's really lovely. He also wrote some great songs back in the day — many of which were played by the Carney Cowboy Band at this gathering — and he played me a recent song he wrote that was very beautiful and very sad.
Here's one of his old classics, played at John Carney's house near Jackson last week — in a video by Corinne Chubb posted on YouTube:
Eli and his wife run a horse stable in Colorado, so he's a horsebacker, too. He took a good fall on a ride at the ranch, when his horse stepped in a hole and stumbled — Eli jumped off, tucked and rolled and came up unhurt. I must report, however, that his boating skills are less developed. He tends to become excitable in a small boat and hyperactive. He came close on several occasions to capsizing the rowboat he shared with Hugh and me on a float down the Green River on this trip, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the consternation he was causing us. When he switched to a single kayak, where no adult supervision was available, he managed to overturn it, immersing himself totally in the frigid stream.
A good guy to ride with, a dangerous guy to row with, and the best musical support on guitar any band could hope for.