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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 for tour dates and more information.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.