John McEuen, born in Oakland, CA in 1945, moved to southern California’s Orange County with his family for high school years. He and lifelong high-school friend Steve Martin both got a job in 1963 (in the magic shop) at 16! When, a couple years later, he saw Missouri bluegrass group The Dillards in an Orange County club, John’s life then headed towards his new dream: “be a traveling music man”. Leaving his Garden Grove spawning ground, his dream became more of a reality than imagined it could be!
Multi-instrumentalist McEuen (banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle) has been recognized as a founding member and award-winning outstanding performer of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He departed at the end of the 50th year anniversary tour Oct. 22, 2017 due to demands for his solo work and the desire to do things new. In addition to John’s numerous solo accolades, NGDB was inducted in to Colorado Music Hall of Fame 2015. It is all covered in his book The Life I’ve Picked on Chicago Review Press, published April, 2018.
In 1971 John initiated the now landmark Will the Circle be Unbroken* album, hooking Nitty Gritty Dirt Band up with his musical mentors Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson simply by asking them in Colorado (brother Bill then asked Merle Travis, and it started growing) to record; it grew to inviting Mother Maybelle Carter, Jimmy Martin, Roy Acuff, ‘Bashful’ Brother Oswald, Merle Travis, Vassar Clements, and Junior Huskey, for 5 magic hot August days of recording. The now multi-platinum “Circle” is in both the Library of Congress and the Grammy Hall of Fame. * “One of the most important records to come out of Nashville…” Chet Flippo Rolling Stone
He closed ep. 6 (called Will the Circle be Unbroken) of PBS’a Ken Burns Country Music, appearing in 3 other episodes.
Radio Host, author, television show producer, writer, concert promoter, multi-instrumental musician, performer, magician, John McEuen continues to explore the music world!
John’s second book – Will the Circle Be Unbroken – 50th anniversary Year – The Making of a Landmark Album Captures 145 of his brother’s (record producer/manager) ‘masterpiece’ photos, with the stories behind each one.
McEuen has made over 46 albums (7 solo) that have earned four platinum and five gold records, multiple Grammy Awards and nominations, CMA and ACM awards, an Emmy film score nomination, IBMA record of the year award, and performed on another 25 albums as guest artist. John’s 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.
Other accolades include: Grammy nomination for String Wizards II, the Uncle Dave Macon Award (for excellence in preservation and performance of historic music); 2009 he was inducted in to the Traditional Country Music Hall of Honor. As a producer/composer of film scores, solo albums, John has produced award-winning projects of his own and for several other artists.
John has continually performed since 1963 – doing over 11,000 concerts, 300 television shows, 10,000 interviews and flown more than 4 million miles. In 2010 John was honored with the Best in the West solo performer award from the Folk Alliance Organization. McEuen’s rich history of creating, producing and preserving original and traditional folk music earned him the 2013 Charlie Poole Lifetime Achievement Award.
John is excited about his new album coming out on Compass Records summer of this year. No title yet!
Made in Brooklyn. – (Stereophile Magazine’s Record of the Month; winner: Independent Music Award’s Best Americana album – 2018), produced by John, earned rave reviews. ‘Brooklyn’ features Matt Cartsonis, John Cowan, Steve Martin, David Amram, Martha Redbone, John Carter Cash, Jay Ungar, Andy Goessling.
“I am grateful that people continue to support what I do as I continue making things. I feel like some of my best projects are ahead. So many stories. so many songs, so many notes, so little time”.
John was inducted in 2017 to the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame