The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country resumes live programming for the first time since March 2020 on Sep. 3 with legendary folk-rock musician Roger McGuinn.

Former front man for The Byrd’s, McGuinn only recently returned to the stage, performing shows that had been scheduled nearly two years ago, before the pandemic put live music on hold.

“I love Appalachian music and I’m honored to be kicking off another season of concerts,” McGuinn said during an interview with Mountain Times.

McGuinn is familiar with the musical traditions of Appalachia, having been a student of Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. His distinct “jingle-jangle” playing and his instinct to blend traditional folk music with rock stylings made him an icon within the industry.

“The two things do kind of naturally blend together,” McGuinn said, recalling one of his first jobs at American singer-songwriter Bobby Darin’s publishing company.

The job was to listen to the radio and write songs like the ones that were already hits, McGuinn said. He fiddled around with the dials on 3 radios, tuning in and out of the only rock stations in New York City, before hearing The Beatles, who were incorporating folk music chords into rock music.

Eventually, McGuinn moved on to a new job in Los Angeles, where he met Gene Clark and David Crosby. Inspired by The Beatles, McGuinn went on to found The Byrds.

“Those were some really high times, and some really low ones and I’m glad that I survived it,” McGuinn chuckled.

He left The Byrds in 1973. Neither nostalgic please from fans nor appeals from David Crosby himself are enough to convince him to reunite the legendary band. His greatest accomplishment in the music industry to date, he said, was getting out of it.

He added that the music industry lacks a certain comradery today. He much prefers his solo career and the intimacy between the audience when it is only him on stage, accompanied by his famed 12-string Rickenbacker, of course.

“I try to exist under the radar and it’s very gratifying,” he said.

He remains a folk musician at heart, returning to the tradition often “just to keep the old songs going.” Once a month, McGuinn records one traditional folk song and uploads the lyrics and chords to his personal website.

The recordings, which include personal notes from McGuinn, are part of a project he calls “Folk Den.”

“I started it out of a concern that the traditional side of folk music was being left aside for the singer-songwriter, which was more lucrative for people,” McGuinn said.

Guests at Friday night’s show can expect to hear a rendition of The Byrds song Chestnut Mare, that McGuinn wrote with the late Jacque Levy for a yet to be released Christmas play.

Tickets for the show are $35. For more information, including current COVID-19 protocols and to purchase tickets visit https://www.apptheatre.org/new-events/2021/9/3/roger-mcguinn.

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