Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen to perform at Kent’s Spotlight Series

Concert March 9 at Kent-Meridian PAC

  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 2:35pm
  • Life
John McEuen. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

John McEuen. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen and the String Wizards present “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” at 7:30 p.m. , on Friday, March 9, at the Kent-Meridian Performing Arts Center, 10020 SE 256th St.

McEuen has assembled a unique cast of Americana string wizards for a special night as part of the city of Kent’s Spotlight Series to share the music and memories of the landmark “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” platinum album and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s incredible 50-year career, according to a city news release. This multi-media show features archival photographs, film and Circle session photos.

When the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded the album, the icons of bluegrass, country and West Coast country rock convened, including Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Jimmy Martin, Roy Acuff, Vassar Clements and Maybelle Carter. Six August 1971 days produced the benchmark record that is still relevant today. (It remains an Amazon top-seller).

Narrative and early music of the band will take the audience on a journey, interwoven with Dirt Band favorites, hot bluegrass, and rare tunes. The evening will include classic favorites, as well as music from McEuen’s highly praised new record – “Made in Brooklyn.” A unique part of the show covers the band’s 1977 Russia trip, and what happened behind the Iron Curtain to the first American band to tour there.

The cast of the show, all stellar musicians in their own right, includes: Les Thompson (original Dirt Band founding member) on bass, vocals and bouzouki; John Cable (toured Russia with the band) on guitar, mandolin and vocals; and Matt Cartsonis (John’s 25-year music partner) on vocals, mandola and guitar.

All join host McEuen, with his banjo, guitar, fiddle, and mandolinas they share – in front of a multi-media screen – hits and stories behind the music. The Library of Congress inducted ‘Circle’ as one of the most important American recordings; the album is also in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors and $15 for youths. Tickets may be purchased online at, by calling 253-856-5051 or in person at the Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N. Hours for phone and in-person sales are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Box office is closed on Sunday.

Spotlight Series is presented by the Kent Arts Commission and Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services, and partially funded by 4Culture and a variety of business and individual sponsors. McEuen’s performance is sponsored by the Pete and Pat Curran Family through the Kent Parks Foundation.

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