McGuinn, Hillman Add ‘Sweetheart of… Rodeo’ Dates

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Marty Stuart, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman (Photo: Alysse Gafkjen; used with permission)

Byrds co-founders Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman continue to add dates for the 50th anniversary tour of their groundbreaking album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The pair are presenting the album in its entirety “and tell the stories that brought the album to life,” according to the original June 4, 2018, announcement. The concerts also feature other favorites from their long recording careers, including such songs that the Byrds as “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “My Back Pages” and “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.”

Dates (marked with an *) have been added in December. (See the schedule below.) A New Jersey show has also been added, on Oct. 28.

McGuinn and Hillman are joined on stage for the tour by country legends Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. The tour began with a short performance of a few songs from Sweetheart of the Rodeo at Stuart’s Late Night Jam on June 6 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Stuart himself plays the famous 1954 Fender Telecaster originally owned by legendary country-rock pioneer Clarence White, a performer on Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

Watch them perform a portion of the album’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” on June 6

The first complete performance was on July 24 at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on July 24. The 28-song set included a surprise appearance by guitarist Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers on the Tom Petty favorite, “American Girl.”

Watch them perform “American Girl” on July 24, 2018

Related: Our review of the tour

Watch them perform “I am a Pilgrim” from Sweetheart on July 29

Sweetheart of the Rodeo is widely considered to be one of the most influential country rock albums of all time, and credited with giving rise to the genre. In 2003, the album was ranked #117 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums. The album introduced new band member Gram Parsons, who was a new kid in town seeking success with the International Submarine Band, whose debut album was weeks from release. Invited by Hillman to audition for the Byrds on piano, Parsons’ voice, guitar and original songs quickly established him as more versatile—and ambitious. Not content to be a mere hired hand, the charismatic Parsons lobbied for a shift away from McGuinn’s grand concept. Instead, Parsons pushed for a narrower focus highlighting the country elements he was already exploring with the ISB.

In Best Classic Bands’ Album Rewind, our reviewer called Sweetheart… “a cornerstone of country-rock and point source for alt-country and Americana, The Byrds’ most consequential stylistic stroke since the band’s pioneering folk-rock debut three years earlier.”

Watch McGuinn and Stuart perform “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” from Sweetheart of the Rodeo

“On March 9, 1968, Roger McGuinn and I along with many fantastic musicians began recording the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album at Columbia Studios in Nashville,” said Hillman in the announcement. ”It was truly a pivotal moment in our lives taking a turn toward the music we always felt a strong kinship with. We are honored that it has left a strong, long lasting impression on country and rock music.”

McGuinn said: “I can’t wait to be on stage with Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart and those Fabulous Superlatives! We’re all looking forward to taking the fans through the back pages of the recording.”

Stuart said about the influence the album had on him: “The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo recording stands as a milestone in American music. Upon my first listen, I was mesmerized at the effect of the combined power Country music, Rock & Roll, Bluegrass, Gospel and Folk music had on me. From that day forward, I considered Sweetheart of the Rodeo a blueprint as to how I should live my musical life. It is truly an honor for me and the Superlatives to get to go out and play music from Sweetheart with Roger and Chris. We love and greatly admire both of them.”

Listen to “Hickory Wind” from the album

The individual performers’ existing tour commitments are preventing the Sweetheart tour from being seamless. Stuart, for instance, is on an arena and amphitheater tour with Chris Stapleton, that began in July and continues into November.

Sweetheart Of The Rodeo Tour Dates (Tickets for several dates are available here and here or via an individual venue’s box office. Several of the original dates are already sold-out but may be available on StubHub.)

Sep 23 – New York, NY – The Town Hall
Sep 24 – New York, NY – The Town Hall
Sep 26 – Boston, MA – Emerson Colonial Theatre
Oct 01 – Louisville, KY – Brown Theatre
Oct 03 – Akron, OH – Akron Civic
Oct 08 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
Oct 10 – Roanoke, VA – Jefferson Center
Oct 15 – Durham, NC – Durham PAC
Oct 21 – Atlanta, GA – Byers Theatre
Oct 23 – Richmond, KY – EKU Center for the Arts
Oct. 28 – New Brunswick, NJ – State Theatre
Oct 30 – Munhall, PA – Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
Nov 09 – Dallas, TX – Majestic Theatre
Nov 10 – Austin, TX – ACL Live
Dec 01 – Bristol, TN – Paramount Bristol*
Dec 03 – North Bethesda, MD – Music Center at Strathmore*
Dec 15 – Clearwater, FL – Capitol Theatre*
Dec 17 – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall*
Dec 19 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse*

Additional dates are expected.

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. Weed
    #1 Weed 3 July, 2018, 23:55


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  2. trout
    #2 trout 1 September, 2018, 12:42

    EKU Center for Arts is in Richmond, KY.

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  3. Linda
    #3 Linda 17 September, 2018, 23:54

    Are you expecting to book any tour dates in Pacific NW like Olympia! or Seattle or Portland? You would be totally sold out in each place, Olympia being in the middle of them with our FABULOUS Washington Theater! THANK YOU, it all sounds…fabulous!

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    • Steve
      Steve 23 September, 2018, 00:38

      I second Linda’s suggestion! Hope you could book a stop in the Inland Northwest, either Spokane or Coeur d’Alene. Lots of fans here.

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  4. Hollis
    #4 Hollis 30 September, 2018, 18:25

    Don’t know how the Sweetheart tour was received in other towns, I expect with joy and enthusiasm. We saw the guys in Boston on Sept. 28, and the audience cheered after EVERY song. They were devine! Singing and playing was so good that it electrified all of us who were feeling mighty lucky to be there, experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime musical event. I think we were all stunned at just how good all the guys were and how special a concert it was. Excited, joyful, grateful, so many words come to mind. Mary Stuart’s band name contains the word “superlative(s)”, and that applies here. Best concert I’ve been to in decades!

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