Founding member of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band takes the stage

Founding member of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band takes the stage

A founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (now in their 44th year), John McEuen has continually performed since 1964. That’s 8,500 concerts and 300 television shows and more than 3 million miles — both with the band and as a solo performer. Presented by The Studios of Key West, audiences can catch John McEuen live in concert Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28 at 8 p.m. the Historic Armory, 600 White St. in Key West.

Beyond performing, McEuen 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.

“For this show I’ll bring one of the finest singers I know, Matt Cartsonis,” said McEuen. “Though he hails from Phoenix, he sings like he is from Kentucky – that high bluegrass lonesome sound with a rock and roll sensibility. Plus, he’s a funny guy with funny songs, all accompanied by his hot licks on mandola and guitar. We have done hundreds of shows together.”

McEuen has made more than 40 albums (6 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, California with Bob Dylan.

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.”

Tickets are $30/$25 and are available at tskw.org, or by calling 305-296-0458.

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