American folk legend John McEuen returns to the App Theater on October 14
Exactly two years after his sold-out performance for the opening of the Appalachian Theater of the High Country (ATHC), folk musician John McEuen returns to Boone on October 14 to perform alongside his “String Wizards” Matt Cartsonis , Les Thompson, John Cable, Jack Lawrence and T. Michael Coleman. This live, in-person concert will be presented on the Doc Watson stage at ATHC for Americana Music, named after the regional icon and McEuen’s inspiration for this program. In anticipation of this event, McEuen was generous enough to provide exclusive information about his career and his vision for this upcoming performance made possible through the support of Mast General Store.
John McEuen was a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. This California-native band ushered in a new era in folk music, collaborating with timeless legends such as Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Vassar Clements, Mother Maybelle Carter and Doc Watson. This particular performance will feature the critically acclaimed album comprising all of the above and more; “Will the circle be uninterrupted?” This 1972 three-sided album was hailed by critics as a national treasure, quickly earning a place in the Library of Congress, as well as several other accolades.
“With ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’ we have brought together three generations, the Dirt group being kind of the young middle. Earl, Maybelle, Jimmy Martin, Merle Travis and Vassar, they were the old guard, ”McEuen said. He then recalled fondly how the famous album had formed, asking folk icons across the States to join the band’s opus in the early 1970s.
Over half a century later, McEuen continues to actively create stories with his instruments and voice. Last year he released “The Dogs Are In The Woods”, an unfinished poem by the late Johnny Cash. “The Nashville Sessions” was released earlier in 2021 and features artists such as Leon Russell and Martha Redbone. Additionally, McEuen hosts a radio show on Sirius XM’s “The Bridge” and is working on an audiobook for his upcoming memoir, “The Life I’ve Picked”.
“I have to say I was very lucky. In these times, with everyone so much apart, it’s really good to get together, ”said McEuen reflecting on his life and career, which is by no means over. A spoken word album is in the works, sharing traditional folk tales as well as significant moments in McEuen’s life.
“Retirement?” McEuen said when asked about his future plans: “It’s something you do to a truck; you get new tires for it. No, I am not planning to retire. I’m having too much fun! He then fondly recalled his debut as a teenager at Disneyland alongside fellow banjo enthusiast Steve Martin, who is just four months older than McEuen and just turned 76.
During his first performance at ATHC in 2019 in Boone, McEuen praised the App Theater for its renovations and auditorium, especially for its acoustics. “You can hear what you’re playing on stage and in the audience. You don’t need as many monitors as in some places. It’s a good live play.
Joining McEuen on stage are his “String Wizards”, friends and fellow musicians whom McEuen revere for their almost magical skills on their respective instruments. McEuen himself plays the mandolin, banjo, guitar and violin. Jack Lawrence has been hailed as a “flat picking powerhouse” on guitar. Lawrence is also originally from North Carolina and has a rich history alongside Doc Watson. Another musician who worked alongside Doc Watson is T. Michael Coleman, bassist, Appalachian State University alumnus and Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame inductee. The other “wizards” appearing in Boone on October 14 are Matt Cartsonis, Les Thompson and John Cable, all former members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
“I’m very excited about the show,” McEuen replied when asked what his plans were for the upcoming performance. “It will be a part of what people saw the last time around, and a lot of it won’t be played until that night.” A special aspect of this concert is its use of projections that accompany its songs and stories. Providing visuals alongside his lyrics and lyrics invites audience members to connect even more with his oral storytelling skills. Members of the public can also expect a sample of his spoken word album which is yet to be released.
ATHC invites the general public to this special encore performance of the opening concert on October 14, 2019 at the Appalachian Theater in what they call “Grand Opening 2.0”. Tickets for this concert are priced at $ 35 and can be purchased online through www.apptheater.org.
The Théâtre des Appalaches is firmly committed to the safety and well-being of its community and in particular members of its audience and will continue to follow the advice of health officials and government in the development and implementation of COVID-related policies.
For more information on this event, COVID protocols, or to join the theatre’s eblast roster, obtain tickets, or purchase memberships, please visit the ACTH website at www.apptheatre.org.