Minkin's Music: The Byrds sing again

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By Jay Minkin, Minkin's Music

With only 11 national tour dates, music fans will be flocking to the Akron Civic Theatre on Wednesday, October 3, for the 50th Anniversary of The Byrds’ groundbreaking album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, concert.

Founding members Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman will perform the album in its entirety and tell the stories that brought the album to life. Backing the pair on stage will be country legends Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. McGuinn and Hillman will also be playing songs that highlight their songbook career. 

Released on August 30, 1968, 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. 

The Byrds changed direction from psychedelic to the new sound with the addition of Gram Parsons. Unbeknownst to McGuinn or Hillman, Parsons had his own musical agenda when joining the band to create a hybrid of honky tonk country and contemporary rock that he coined as “Cosmic American Music.” 

Another game changer was being the first rock group of “long-haired hippies” to record several tracks in Nashville. 

Sweetheart’s record release coincided with Music From Big Pink by The Band and was followed by Nashville Skyline by Bob Dylan. At the time of its release, the Sweetheart album received mixed reviews from critics and dismayed counter culture fans. 

Over the years, it has been revered with highlights including a Dylan cover of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” along with “Hickory Wind” and “One Hundred Years From Now,” written by Parsons. Parsons and Hillman would later form The Flying Burrito Brothers that pushed this new mix of Nashville and Southern California sound paving the way for many others, most notably The Eagles.

Contact Jay at Blues4Bird@aol.com or post on his Minkin’s Music Facebook page. 

Categories: Arts & Entertainment