The Beatles and Bob Dylan were among the key guiding lights in the musical evolution of Roger McGuinn as a singer-songwriter and as a founding member of the seminal 1960s folk-rock band, the Byrds.
However, it’s interesting to note that McGuinn and the Byrds at the time influenced those musical giants and so many others including the Grateful Dead.
At 69 years old, McGuinn isn’t the household name that some of his contemporaries are, but he is a survivor of a time that counts many casualties among its ranks. And he still has a loyal fan base that came out that Friday night to hear him sing and tell autobiographical stories in the intimate environment of The Egg’s Swyer Theatre.
Surrounded on stage by his guitars, a banjo and three potted trees, McGuinn sat in a chair and performed two sets filled with the Byrds’ hits – the Dylan-penned “Mr Tambourine Man,” Pete Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn” and, of course, “Eight Miles High” – as well as songs from his many solo outings including his latest, “Limited Edition.”
Roger McGuinn has become an elder statesman of the folk-rock idiom and is celebrating five decades of performing, recording and writing songs. It was nice to see that there were many in the audience who were there at the beginning of his evolution.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Glenn Weiser’s review at Metroland
Excerpt from Michael Hocahanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: In Friday’s autobiographical show, McGuinn traced the development of music in parallel with that of his career, in a chronological flow. The strength of his singing was in the emotion his voice conveyed, rather than the voice itself. He stacked the deck in his favor, emerging onto the foliage- and instrument-decorated small stage with the familiar chords of Dylan’s ‘My Back Pages’ chiming from his 12-string electric Rickenbacker. Then he reached back to Bach to show how he’d copped ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ as the solo in his own ‘She Don’t Care About Time.’ Folkish antiques — the chantey ‘Rollickin’ Randy Dandy-O,’ the blues ‘St. James Infirmary,’ Leadbelly’s ‘Rock Island Line,’ Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ Bob Gibson’s ‘Well Well Well’ — fit elbow to elbow with his own chestnuts — ‘Chestnut Mare’ to an elusive horse, ‘You Showed Me.’ But at times the narrative felt a little forced, contrived and rickety — until he reached again for the Rickenbacker electric 12 for ‘Hey Mr. Tambourine Man.’ Pure magic, right there.”