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An Unbroken Circle: The McEuen Sessions Is the Very Best Kind of Family Album

Posted: 04/24/2012 2:15 am

They say that you never forget your first time.

I teared up listening to the stunning new album The McEuen Sessions - For All The Good -- a truly luminous effort that brings together John McEuen, "The String Wizard" who first made his good name with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and his two extremely gifted musician sons Jonathan and Nathan.

Part of the reason for my tears is sentimental -- the first concert my own late father ever took me to was to see The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at Carnegie Hall when I was around ten years old. The opening act was a comedian named Steve Martin who blew my mind weeks before he became world famous. Yet it was seeing the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band performing songs from classic albums like Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy that night changed my life forever -- giving me a lifelong appreciation of country music and bluegrass. That something not every kid from New Jersey gets -- thanks Dad.

Yet ultimately, the power of The McEuen Sessions has nothing to do with my family, and everything to do with the McEuens, who have created a true family album that reflects the musical experiences of a few lifetime. There are too many highlights here to mention, but beyond some outstanding originals, there's a too timely cover of Rodney Crowell's "Long Hard Road" (a #1 hit for The Dirt Band), Red Foley's "Old Shep," a cool take on Dave Mason's "Only You Know And I Know" and finally a fitting version of Dan Fogelberg's "Leader Of The Band" that had me weeping again. I think I'm going to play it to my two young musician sons. Sure, I may be somewhat emotionally unstable, but don't hold that against the McEuens -- For All The Good is a shining gem worth that's a thing of beauty for the whole musical family.

So buy this album, but first tell me, concert-wise, what was YOUR first time like?

 
 
 

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