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Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman Team Up with Marty Stuart to Honor a Landmark Byrds Album

(Image credit: Alysse Gafkjen)

Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the Byrds’ understated country-rock masterpiece, turns 50 this fall. To celebrate, band co-founders and Sweetheart masterminds Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman are teaming up for a tour dedicated to the landmark disc. Some Byrds fans might consider that enough of a reason to rejoice (these guys haven’t toured together in ages)—but there’s more. McGuinn and Hillman will be backed by trad-country champion Marty Stuart and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives. As every Tele-lovin’, string-bendin’ maniac knows, Stuart owns the sunburst 1954 Fender Telecaster that once belonged to the late Clarence White, another Sweetheart performer (White actually played a white Fifties Tele on the album, a guitar he traded to Bob Warford, who still owns it).

“On March 9, 1968, Roger McGuinn and I, along with many fantastic musicians, began recording Sweetheart of the Rodeo at Columbia Studios in Nashville,” Hillman says. “It was a pivotal moment in our lives, taking a turn toward the music we always felt a strong kinship with. We’re honored it has left a strong, long-lasting impression on country and rock.”

Adds McGuinn: “We’re looking forward to taking fans through the back pages of the recording. The concerts will include songs that led up to that trip to Nashville and all the songs from the album.”

Check out qprime.com/artist/sweetheart-of-the-rodeo/ for tour dates and more information.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.