Wednesday, November 22 , 2017, 1:28 am | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

John McEuen Makes Surprise Stop at Carpinteria Plaza Playhouse

John McEuen, regarded as a pioneer of the five-string banjo in pop rock and one of the founding members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, made a surprise appearance at the Carpinteria Plaza Playhouse on Nov. 16.

The last-minute show featured his sons, Jonathan and Nathan, and a parade of local musicians who have collaborated with the McEuens over the years. The concert was a dress rehearsal of sorts for their show at the Lobero Theatre the following night.

The occasion was the celebration of the album For All the Good that the three McEuens recently released — the first on which they have collaborated.

The capacity crowd at the tiny theater was treated to a night full of classic bluegrass sounds with two solid sets of music. The show began with a short solo set by Jonathan McEuen, a regular visitor to the tiny theater.

He was joined by a succession of talented local musicians who have been associated with various McEuen recording sessions in the past. Each musician took a turn as lead vocalist and showcased his or her specific musical talents.

Finally, they were joined by Nathan McEuen for a set of pop bluegrass and folk classics. Then there was an interim talent show of sorts with area musicians showcasing their acoustic talents, including True Mason, the son of legendary guitarist Dave Mason.

After a brief intermission, John McEuen appeared on stage as the surprise guest, performing a short set of classic banjo tunes, dating as far back as the early 1800s. The banjo maestro told detailed anecdotes between songs, featuring everything from the history of bango music in the United States to a story about playing with the Grateful Dead in San Francisco in the 1960s. At that memorable show, he said his band (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), played so loud that “a dog walked in front of the speakers and died of a heart attack.”

After his eloquent solo performance, John McEuen was joined by Nathan and Jonathan and the other band members for a rousing set of songs from their new album interspersed with some Nitty Gritty Dirt Band classics, including songs from the album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >