BEAT GOES ON FOR '60S COUNTRY-ROCK PIONEER.
Folk and country music that captured the hearts and minds of a generation of fans is being reborn with a new style and sound reached through years of maturation.
Guitarist, songwriter and producer John McEuen earned his place in music history as a founding member of the '60s country-rock pioneers Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but with his recent release, ``String Wizard's Picks,'' he's pushing that place to a new level.
``I'm doing more of my own music now,'' said McEuen. ``It's a little more instrumental, things I didn't think I could do with the Dirt Band.''
After more than two decades with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, McEuen took on a solo career in 1987.
McEuen also set his mark in producing music, videos and television. His production of ``Music of the Wild West'' television special for The Nashville Network earned an International Film Festival Gold Award for Best Special.
McEuen's most recent production is a project that no one in the music industry has ever attempted. With music and lyrics by Chief Jim Billy, McEuen produced the first album of Seminole Indian songs. Sung in English and Seminole, the songs are of tribal lore.
``It tells a story,'' McEuen said. ``It's their music and their history.''
McEuen says he's always been interested in several musical genres and that's exactly what sets his sound apart from the rest. His collection of vintage instruments - guitars, mandolin, banjo, lap slide and fiddle - all represent his love for the ``unmentioned music.''
``When you watch a western, they never mention the music,'' said McEuen. ``Why don't they put in the fact that the melting pot didn't melt until somebody took out a banjo, or a fiddle, or a mandolin, and once they started playing it, the dance would start? Any cultural boundaries would melt away, because there was music being played. A lot of great melodies came out over the last hundred years.''
With 22 albums, three gold records and one platinum record, four Grammy nominations, an Emmy nomination, two Country Music Awards nominations and the Western Heritage Award for the Best Western Album under his belt, McEuen is now focusing his attention on his greatest passion: film scoring.
``I love it,'' said McEuen. ``It's a way of really opening up.''
With scoring credit from both ``The Good Old Boys,'' starring and directed by Tommy Lee Jones, and ``The Music of the Wild West'' McEuen says it is just the beginning.
``Awards are nice but if you really enjoy what you're doing, it's kind of like OK, what's next,'' said McEuen. ``My goal is to be nominated for another Emmy for something I did.'' He joked: ``Not because I actually want to win, just for the free tickets.''
For information on John McEuen, visit his Web site at www.johnmceuen.com.
WHAT: Harvest Moon Festival.
WHEN: Oct. 23, 24 and 25.
WHERE: Palmdale Playhouse, 38334 10th St. E.
DETAILS: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McEuen will perform at 8 p.m. Oct. 23; storytellers Milbre Burch and Rochel Coleman at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24; and the Palmdale Youth and Community Dancers, Palmdale City Players and the Palmdale Writers' Roundtable will perform at 2 p.m. Oct. 25.
TICKETS: Tickets are $24, $18 and $15 for a three-day package; $12, $10 and $8 for the Oct. 23 and 24 shows; and $7 or $5 for the Oct. 25 show.
INFORMATION: (805) 267-5685.
PHOTO (1--Color) John McEuen, a founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, will perform Oct. 23 in the Harvest Moon Festival at the Palmdale Playhouse.
(2--Color) (Ran in AV Edition only) McEuen will perform Oct. 23 as part of the Harvest Moon Festival at the Palmdale Playhouse.
Jeff Goldwater/Daily News