Roger McGuinn & Chris Hillman of The Byrds Set Out on 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' 50th-Anniversary Tour

Roger McGuinn Chris Hillman
HERBIE KNOTT/REX/Shutterstock 

Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman of The Byrds in 1979.

The band's co-founders will perform the seminal 1968 album in full at five shows throughout the U.S.

The Byrds co-founders Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman have announced the Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th anniversary tour. To celebrate the 1968 country-rock album’s anniversary, McGuinn and Hillman will play Sweetheart of the Rodeo in its entirety for fans in California, New York, Virginia and Ohio, with more dates to be announced.

"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," Hillman said in a statement. "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."

With new member Gram Parsons, the Byrds’ 1968 album melded country and rock to bring about a new Nashville sound. As pioneers of the blended genre, Hillman and McGuinn will share stories of how the album came together while onstage.

“We’re all looking forward to taking the fans through the back pages of the recording,” said McGuinn. “The concert will include songs that led up to that groundbreaking trip to Nashville and all the songs from that album.”

The duo will be joined on tour by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. Stuart plays live onstage with the 1954 Fender Telecaster originally owned by Clarence White, who contributed the studio recording of Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

"The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo recording stands as a milestone in American music. I bought my first copy of the record in 1972," Stuart said in a release. "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."

The duo will warm up for the tour with Hillman and McGuinn doing a short set of the Sweetheart songs at Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam on Wednesday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Stuart added: “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 and I have to believe this is a show not to be missed.”

Sweetheart of the Rodeo tour
July 24 – Los Angeles, CA @ Ace Hotel
July 29 – Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery
September 18 – Albany, NY @ Hart Theater
September 20 – Hopewell, VA @ Beacon Theatre
October 3 – Akron, OH @ Akron Civic


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