Roger McGuinn Flying High
at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn performed at the Outpost in the Burbs in Upper Montclair, New Jersey on April 25, 2015 where he delighted a full house with songs and stories.

Roger McGuinn made a triumphant return to the Outpost in The Burbs in 2015.

Like many, Roger McGuinn became interested in music after hearing Elvis. Inspired by The King, Roger learned how to play the guitar and later the banjo. Soon after graduating high school McGuinn was performing at folk rock clubs as he worked his way up to session player and writer. By the mid-sixties, Roger was flying "Eight Miles High" with The Byrds. It was in that legendary band where McGuinn developed his signature "jingle-jangle" guitar style.

After The Byrds, McGuinn pursued a solo career with occasional collaborations. Roger still tours. He also runs the Folk Den website whose mission is to preserve and promote folk music. Each month a song is posted to the Folk Den website with a description, guitar chords, images and lyrics. The website launched in 1995 has resulted in a number of compilations CDs. Cleary, Roger is still passionate about sharing his folk rock roots through the website and concerts.

The stage set-up at the Outpost was simple with a few plants behind the musical instruments which included a banjo, a 12 string acoustic and a Roger McGuinn Martin HD7. As the lights went down Roger's distinctive Rickenbacker was heard as he strolled out playing "My Back Pages". McGuinn quickly connected with the crowd asking them to sing the insightful lyrics "I was so much older then I'm younger than that now". Throughout the night he encouraged fans to participate.

McGuinn told many stories that highlighted rock and folk history during his two hour set.

"Thank you, you sound good," declared Roger. "You Ain't Goin Nowhere" the next song in McGuinn's set was another Bob Dylan cover that the Byrds had made their own. Dylan was mentioned frequently throughout Roger's narrative. The crowd also assisted with the chorus on this classic. "Pretty Boy Floyd" was a Woody Guthrie tune that featured feisty picking paired with foot tapping rhythms. Back to Bob, Roger recalled that back in the late 60's Peter Fonda was hoping that The Muse would write some music for a low budget motorcycle film he was making. According to Roger, Bob jotted down a few lines on a napkin telling Peter that McGuinn would know what to do with it. With those words Roger wrote the "Ballad of Easy Rider". The signature song flowed on McGuinn's fluid fret work.

Roger mentioned that he was influenced by Pete Seeger and Lead Belly, which led into the gospel inspired "They Hung Him on a Cross" played on the 12-string. 5D (Fifth Dimension) featured fine picking and prose from Roger who was also in good voice on Saturday night. "Here is another song about space," said Roger as he switched to the Rickenbacker for a catchy "Mr. Spaceman". McGuinn continued to share his muse and music as he recalled working with Bob on a soundtrack about Billy The Kid. He then performed Dylan's "Knockin on Heaven's Door" - another well-known song that fans could sing-along to.

After a short intermission, Roger still clad in dark colors and a hat walked back on stage playing the Rickenbacker for a rousing "So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star". He shared that when he heard "American Girl" by Tom Petty he remarked that it was a tune he could have written. The two are friends and have worked together on a number of projects including songs from Roger's Back From Rio (1991) album. McGuinn then performed "King of the Hill" a tantalizing track penned by the two.

Roger McGuinn brought the "big jangle" for his fans in Montclair.

Roger explained some of the benefits of his 7-string guitar, which he used to play a colorful version of "Chestnut Mare". Mentioning his days at the Brill Building he recalled writing a surf tune before playing the bouncy "Beach Ball". The Byrds like many others were affected by The Beatles who in their early days were using folk changes in rock songs, a technique that Roger incorporated into his songs. Coming into the homestretch of this educational and engaging show, McGuinn performed the timeless "Mr. Tambourine Man". "Eight Miles High" included a story along with a cool classical layered version of the song. The encore featured "Turn! Turn! Turn! paired with an Irish blessing to close the Outpost concert on high!

Since its inception in 1987 Outpost in the Burbs has been hosting concerts and working in the community. Throughout the town of Montclair, New Jersey Outpost has venues in churches and now a school auditorium. With the help of dedicated volunteers, Outpost has produced more than 350 shows including Roger McGuinn. Also a percentage of the concert ticket proceeds goes to local non-profits. Please check out their website for a full list of events and outreach programs.

Related Links: For more information on ROGER MCGUINN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Roger McGuinn | Outpost In The Burbs

(Originally Published on April 26, 2015)




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