John McEuen has been an iconic and influential musician for over 50 years, playing classic hits like “Mr. Bojangles” and “Make a Little Magic” with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. McEuen is in town to play a tribute to country music at the Auburn Public Theater.
“The origin and roots of country music are the people that created it, so deeply personal. And it reflects their daily lives, their DNA and therefore those songs, being so personal, were handed down like you would hand down an heirloom, a family heirloom and it’s more of that and less of a commodity. So when you have a guy like John McEuen who has grown up that way and studies this, he’s one of our archivists of this kind of music,” said Tom Honan from Live Space Entertainment. “So, to hear him in the Ken Burns documentary and to hear all of the other stories of the origins of this music, how it gets paid forward and even how new generations are basing their music on this, it’s quite a solid roots system and to have John here to keep that music alive and paying it forward is kind of fun.”
“I was just learning songs,” added McEuen. “You know, they were boring folk music in some ways but when you got into the story they were really exciting.”
McEuen discusses Earl Scruggs’ innovations on the banjo and demonstrates different styles that take melodies from the 1800s to today’s bluegrass in Ken Burns’ documentary, “Country Music” which aired on PBS in an 8-part series back in September.
A Celebration of Country Music features many other special guests including Loren Barrigar, The Owens Brothers and a young and talented Emalee Herrington. The show is on Sunday, October 20th starting at 5pm at the Auburn Public Theater. Tickets are $28 and available at the theater’s box office, Sound Garden in Armory Square in downtown Syracuse and at LiveSpaceEntertainment.com