A founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (now in their 44th year), John McEuen has continually performed since 1964 -- 8,500 concerts and 300 television shows throughout more than three million miles -- both with the band and as a solo performer. Beyond performing, he has a rich history of creating, producing and preserving original and traditional folk and acoustic music, and taking it to new audiences.
He brings his guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin, along with favorite Dirt Band songs and the stories behind them. This past October, he was honored with the Best in the West Award from the Folk Alliance Organization.
McEuen has made over 40 albums (six solo) that have earned four platinum and five gold recognition awards, Grammy nominations, CMA and ACM awards, an Emmy nomination, IBMA record of the year award, and performed on another 25 albums as guest artist. He's also produced more than 300 concerts throughout his career -- the first in 1965 in Long Beach Calif., with Bob Dylan.
His production of Steve Martin -- The Crow won the 2010 Best Bluegrass Album Grammy. The Music of the Wild West CD, produced by McEuen, was honored with the Western Heritage Award.
A Grammy nomination for String Wizards II preceded the1994 Uncle Dave Macon Award for his excellence in preservation and performance of historic music. On Sirius/XM's The Village, John's popular Acoustic Traveller show is now in its fifth year. McEuen produced and directed the 2006 documentary film The Dillards -- A Night In the Ozarks, which captures his early mentors at their best.
McEuen's countless jams include street performers to Phish, Earl Scruggs, Levon Helm... and even on Sesame Street with a herd of goats and a cow!
Arguably, McEuen's most important legacy may be his instigation of what Rolling Stone called, "The most important record to come out of Nashville," and what the 2004 ZAGAT survey called "the most important record in country music" -- Will the Circle Be Unbroken...
In his career so far, John has played over 8,000 shows around the world. John McEuen has performed and/or recorded with: Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Bill Wyman, Johnny Cash, Marshall Tucker Band, Steve Martin, The Smothers Brothers, Rowan and Martin, Clint Eastwood, Phish, Crystal Gayle, Michael Martin Murphey, Hans Olson, Tammy Wynette, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Leon Russell, Kevin Nealon, Tom Chapin, Pete Seeger, Mary McCaslin, Vassar Clements, Jose Feliciano, Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Andy Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, The Band, The Doors, Foreigner, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Little Richard, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Robin Williams, Albert Gore, Robert Schimmel, Tom Petty, Stephen Wright, Little River Band, Air Supply, Doobie Brothers, Bill Cosby, Martha Redbone, Hootie and the Blowfish -- the list goes on, and there are stories about all of them.
And now, John's sons, Nathan and Jonathan, are performing and recording with him. It appears the circle will remain unbroken!
On Saturday, Sept. 1, Michael Martin Murphey will be making a return appearance at the Ozark Folk Center. Murphey, the "singing cowboy poet," is not only the number one, best-selling singer/songwriter of American Cowboy Music -- he's one of the world's most respected singer/songwriters in the Pop and Country-western fields.
Though he's remained a lifetime resident and loyal son of Texas, he's a man on a mystical, spiritual quest to try to capture the soul of the deserts, plains and mountains in America -- from the Carolinas to California, from the Great Plains to the Deep South to the Wild North Country.
In 1970, Murphey moved back to Texas from California and settled in Austin. Here, he founded a "Texas music scene" that became world famous. Though others like Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker followed in his footsteps, Murphey was the first singer/songwriter of this Austin scene to be signed to a major record label while operating out of Austin, Texas.
When Willie Nelson visited one of Murphey's performances in Austin, he got rid of his suit and tie, grew long hair and a beard, like Murphey's, and played the Armadillo World Headquarters as Murphey's opening act.
In 1972, A and M released the debut album by Murphey entitled Geronimo's Cadillac. The first album was produced by Bob Johnston (who discovered Murphy at his old coffee house stomping grounds, the Rubiayat in Dallas, Texas), who also produced Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen. This made the critical world pay attention to Murphey as a serious songwriter.
Some people called his music Progressive Country, some called it Redneck Rock and some called it Outlaw Music. The fact is, no one could quite figure out exactly what to call it. They were struggling with trying to label a songwriter who could morph from the blues to country to pop ballads, rock and roll, bluegrass, western-swing, cowboy music and jazz.
In May of 1975, Murphey's story song, "Wildfire," reached number one on the radio and records charts, number three on Billboard's Pop chart and number one on all Adult Contemporary Charts, giving the artist vast commercial exposure.
Just some of Murphey's albums include "Swans Against the Sun," Michael Martin Murphey," "River of Time," "Cowboy Songs," "Blue Sky Night Thunder," and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." His three "Cowboy Christmas" albums concept became a trademarked touring show and musical concept for him. The tour now spans 40 cities per holiday season.
His awards are too numerous to list here, but the one for which he is most honored is the Golden Smoky Award, given to him by the Department of Interior for his tireless work in conservation and wildlands fire awareness.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the show starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 for the John McEuen and Sons concert, and $25 for the Michael Martin Murphey concert. Call 870-269-3851 to purchase tickets.