Roger McGuinn

Stories, Songs & Friends

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Roger McGuinn started his career as a folk musician, years before he picked up a Rickenbacker electric and helped birth folk-rock with the Byrds, and in the 21st century, he's gracefully moved back to his old profession, primarily playing solo acoustic shows and devoting as much time on-stage to the basic folk repertoire as his rock & roll hits. Stories, Songs & Friends is a live recording of McGuinn on-stage in Tucson, Arizona in 2013, playing a mix of folk standards and favorites from the Byrds' catalog, interspersed with stories about his life and career. If this sounds just a bit like McGuinn's 1996 album Live from Mars, that's because the two albums are a great deal alike; this is considerably bulkier, with a lot more traditional material and significantly longer stories, but the blend of music and storytelling is very much the same, and a few of McGuinn's anecdotes (especially the ones about the Byrds) will sound rather familiar to folks who own Live from Mars. McGuinn never possessed a gale-force voice, and his instrument has grown a bit timid in recent years, though he can still hit the notes; thankfully and more importantly, his picking remains strong, and as he moves back and forth between electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and banjo, he sounds relaxed but confident and on point. However, while fans will doubtless appreciate McGuinn's tales, they sometimes feel a bit rote, as if he's done this show many, many times and knows he's going to be doing it a few more times in the near future. Stories, Songs & Friends is thoroughly professional and not without enthusiasm, but there are few surprises here, and if you've been following McGuinn's career in the past two decades, this will all sound just a bit too familiar, though any album that features the man playing "Chestnut Mare," "My Back Pages," and "Ballad of Easy Rider" is going to deliver some very real pleasure.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
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