Byrd in the Hand: Roger McGuinn

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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Roger McGuinn was the 12 string lead guitar player and singer for The Byrds, the most original of the folk rock bands of the ’60s. I love their music, including their upbeat Dylan interpretations, especially “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Pete Seeger’s classic, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Their harmonies were matchless. Their look was quintessential. I still play The Byrds’ Greatest Hits as well as the country rock Sweetheart of the Rodeo in my car all the time. McGuinn’s part in the ensemble rendition of Dylan’s 30th Anniversary My Back Pages brings me such joy (I’m playing it now). McGuinn remained with The Byrds through various incarnations, retaining his distinct voice as their distinctive sound. He’s still going strong and a new album from his online Folk Den was released for his birthday. Yesterday, he turned 74.

Roger McGuinn Folk Den

It’s been twenty years since Roger McGuinn began recording a series of traditional folk songs and uploading them to, in a section called the Folk Den. Since then he has posted a new recording of a traditional folk song on the first of every month. The purpose of the Folk Den project is to use the medium of the Internet to continue the tradition of the folk process, passing on songs from one generation to another by word of mouth.

Roger has celebrated this anniversary by rerecording 100 new songs from the FOLK DEN. The cover photo is the same as the 10-year edition with only the background color changed to blue. He wanted the set of two to reflect a classical historical collection. He hopes this collection of both FOLK DEN PROJECTS will add a meaningful dimension to musical archives and library shelves. Each FOLK DEN PROJECT edition contains 100 songs especially rerecorded and remastered. A total of 200 songs fill the eight CDs on the combined projects. There is also a booklet contained in each 4-CD set telling a story about the song.

The back cover is a photo of Roger on stage during his 2014 European tour. It also contains the quote by Roger, “Before there were books, music saved our history.”

And speaking of covers. AIGA’s Executive Director Julie Anixter recently interviewed McGuinn for an AIGA music and design initiative about The Byrds and his own solo covers. Watch it and enjoy and download here.

tamberine man - the byrds
5th Dimension
younger than yesterday
sweetheart of the rodeo
easy rider

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