I used to seek new artists by tracking the song writers, or back up band members and if they did solos. One guy came to do a concert at Bogart's restaurant and cafe* where I had already seen Arlo Guthrie and Maria Muldaur among others. Steve Goodman put on a good show and I had an album or two of his. He wrote Arlo's City of New Orleans among others. Died early from leukemia in '84, but exuded life in everything he wrote. I didn't know of the Chicago folk scene, but John Prine hooked up with Goodman through that venue. Both John and Steve tell stories with their songs.
*University of Cicinnati, Clifton neighborhood, great college town. http://www.bogarts.com/ btw local_dylan_gives_bogarts a surprise. When I went it held 450 to 500 seats. Open seating, and if you went and had dinner before the show you got first pick, or just kept your dinner seat and table and pitchers of beer.