Coming amid the turmoil of 1968, The Byrds‘ groundbreaking yet retro Sweetheart of the Rodeo was both ahead of and behind its time in pioneering country rock. It was the band’s sole LP to include Gram Parsons, whose influence on its sound was huge. To honor its 50th anniversary, original Byrds Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman are reuniting for a tour, as the following press release relates.
On the 50th anniversary of their groundbreaking album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Byrds co-founders, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman will perform the album in its entirety and tell the stories that brought the album to life. They will also sing some other favorites from their long recording careers. The tour will stop in cities across the country including Los Angeles, Albany, and Akron (dates below, with more to be announced soon) and will kick off with a short performance of a few songs from Sweetheart of the Rodeo at Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam on June 6th at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. McGuinn and Hillman will be joined on stage for the tour by country legends Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. Stuart himself plays the famous 1954 Fender Telecaster originally owned by legendary country-rock pioneer Clarence White, a performer on Sweetheart of the Rodeo. For tickets and more details, see venue information below.
Sweetheart of the Rodeo is widely considered to be one of the most influential country rock albums of all time, and credited with giving rise to the genre. In 2003, the album was ranked #117 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums.
“On March 9, 1968, Roger McGuinn and I along with many fantastic musicians began recording the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album at Columbia Studios in Nashville,” says Chris Hillman. ”It was truly a pivotal moment in our lives taking a turn toward the music we always felt a strong kinship with. We are honored that it has left a strong, long lasting impression on country and rock music. To celebrate this special time with Roger, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives is such a blessing on this, the 50th anniversary of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”
Roger McGuinn adds: “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo with a group of my favorite musicians is an honor. I can’t wait to be on stage with Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart and those Fabulous Superlatives! We’re all looking forward to taking the fans through the back pages of the recording. The concert will include songs that led up to that ground breaking trip to Nashville and all the songs from the album.”
Marty Stuart said about the influence the album had on him: “The Bryds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeorecording stands as a milestone in American music. I bought my first copy of the record in 1972. Upon my first listen, I was mesmerized at the effect of the combined power Country music, Rock & Roll, Bluegrass, Gospel and Folk music had on me. From that day forward, I considered Sweetheart of the Rodeo a blueprint as to how I should live my musical life. It is truly an honor for me and the Superlatives to get to go out and play music from Sweetheart with Roger and Chris. We love and greatly admire both of them and I have to believe this is a show not to be missed.”
About Roger McGuinn:
Born in Chicago, Roger McGuinn began his professional musical career at age seventeen when the Limelighters drafted him after an evening of jamming with them at the Gate of Horn. They invited him to record on their first RCA album in Los Angeles. The Chad Mitchell Trio heard about his guitar and banjo talent and hired him as an accompanist. He toured with them for two years before Bobby Darin saw him playing and offered him a place in his show. After touring with singer Bobby Darin, McGuinn moved to New York where he worked in the fabled Brill Building, as a song writer. It was at the Brill Building where he first heard the Beatles and decided to add their rock beat to traditional folk songs. An invitation to open for Hoyt Axton at the Los Angeles club, The Troubadour, lead to the meeting with Gene Clark. The rest of the story is the history of the Byrds. The Byrds have been given credit for being in the forefront of Folk Rock, Psychedelic Rock and the ground breaking genre of Country Rock. McGuinn is a three time Grammy nominee and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the Byrds.
About Chris Hillman:
A third generation native Californian, Chris Hillman launched his musical career in 1962 at age 18 with Bluegrass outfit the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, followed by a stint with The Hillmen (with Vern and Rex Gosdin and Don Parmley). Over the course of the next three decades, he was a founding member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, Souther Hillman Furay, McGuinn Clark Hillman, and the Desert Rose Band. He has recorded more than 65 albums over the last five decades. His most recent solo recording, last year’s Bidin’ My Time, was produced by Tom Petty. He is widely acknowledged as a seminal figure in the creation of country rock and an architect of American popular music. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; a three-time Academy of Country Music Award winner, four-time Grammy nominee, four-time Country Music Association nominee, and has been honored with lifetime achievement awards from the Americana Music Association and the San Diego Music Awards, a Mojo Roots Awards, and received BMI’s One Million Broadcast Radio Awards for “One Step Forward” and “Love Reunited.”
About Marty Stuart:
Marty Stuart is a five time GRAMMY-winner, platinum recording artist, lifetime crusader for American roots music, Grand Ole Opry star, country music archivist, photographer, musician, and songwriter. Since starting out singing gospel as a child, Stuart has spent over four decades celebrating American roots music. His teenage years on tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt in the ’70s were followed by six years in Johnny Cash’s band in the ’80s, and a chart-topping tenure as a solo artist in the ’90s. Stuart hosts a Late Night Jam at The Ryman, a yearly tradition which kicks off the CMA Music Festival, with recent guests including Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ashley McBryde, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris and many more
Sweetheart Of The Rodeo Tour Dates
(click through each date for tickets)
July 24 /// Los Angeles, CA ///Ace Hotel
July 29 /// Saratoga, CA /// Mountain Winery
Sep 18 /// Albany, NY /// Hart Theater @ The Egg
Sep 20 /// Hopewell, VA /// Beacon Theatre
Oct 3 /// Akron, OH /// Akron Civic
More dates to be announced soon.