Could this be the country music show of the year in Austin? At the very least, it’s the proto-alt-country show of the year. Founding Byrds members Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman will team with country-bluegrass great Marty Stuart and his band the Fabulous Superlatives at ACL Live on Nov. 10 to revisit “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” the groundbreaking country-folk-rock crossover album that came out 50 years ago this month.
Tickets, $49.50-$79.50, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, via the venue’s website.
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“Sweetheart of the Rodeo” was released on Aug. 30, 1968, and helped give rise to the short but brilliant career of Gram Parsons, who died five years later from a drug overdose. Parsons joined the band after its initial mid-1960s hits such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn Turn Turn,” pushing the group toward a synthesis of traditional country and its trademark folk-rock on the “Sweetheart” album.
The record proved to be highly influential on subsequent generations of musicians. Among those who took it to heart was Stuart, then a teenage bluegrass prodigy and later a hitmaking country star. Stuart owns the 1954 Fender Telecaster that previously belonged to the late Clarence White, who played guitar on the “Sweetheart” album; Stuart will play that guitar on this tour.
Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives — guitarist Kenny Vaughan, bassist Chris Scruggs and drummer Harry Stinson — will serve as the supporting band for McGuinn and Hillman. Set lists from late-July shows on the tour indicate that the show will include Byrds classics plus a few Stuart/Superlatives numbers, as well as an encore dominated by Tom Petty songs. Petty was close friends with both McGuinn and Hillman, and produced the latter’s solo album “Bidin’ My Time” last year, a few months before Petty’s death.
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