Shopping Cart
The Newsman: A Man of Record

CDs will be signed by John McEuen (while supplies last).

Grammy winner John McEuen’s new album, The Newsman, is a first for the acoustic music legend who helped to define the trajectory for bluegrass and acoustic-rooted music in the mid 1970s as a member of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The album includes 10 spoken word renditions of poems from the 19th and 20th century that McEuen has been collecting over the course of his 50 year career and one self-penned instrumental, the evocative “Jules’ Theme,” which closes the collection. Each story is told in McEuen’s engaging baritone, adorned by his unique instrumental compositions informed by his many years of scoring films. From the opening title track, which is a true story about a man who sold newspapers and was a tremendous influence on the young musician in Los Angeles, to the album’s sole instrumental, “Jules' Theme,” inspired by Jules Verne telling a friend, in a French cemetery, about his recently deceased young wife, McEuen presents an album of mini-stories at once inspirational and deeply emotional.

Tracks on the album include “Killed at the Ford,” a Civil War-era poem penned by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that tells of the death of a young soldier as he and friends go to meet a picket-guard by a ford. Although no trouble is expected, a shot is fired from the woods and the young man is killed. The poem goes on to contemplate the impact on the young man’s family at home. “The Cremation of Sam McGee,” one of the most famous poems written by Robert Service, was published in 1907 and tells the story of the man who cremates the prospector who froze to death in the Yukon while searching for gold. “Fly Trouble” is a Hank Williams Sr. classic from 1949, and one of “talking blues” numbers that McEuen has recited many times over the past years. “Old Rivers” was written by Cliff Crofford and released by Walter Brennan in 1963, while Thomas Monroe wrote “Nui Ba Den” while he was in Vietnam in 1968. More recent writings include “Pineapple John” by John Carter Cash, Hans Olson’s “I’ll Be Glad When I Run Out Of Gas” and Thaddeus Bryant’s “Red Clay.”

Says McEuen: “I have been around the world playing music and collecting stories for… a long time. As a teenager, well before Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, I loved Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. Before I started playing I must have recited ‘Ya Got Trouble’ 2,000 times! Later, when performing became part of the life I picked, every now and then I would do one of these ‘stories’ (often a Hank Williams talking blues) on stage, always happy about how well they went over.” It’s a gift to McEuen’s many fans that he has finally memorialized these stories on The Newsman.

John McEuen was a founding member of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and was instrumental in the creation of the now classic Will the Circle Be Unbroken album which introduced first generation bluegrass and country artists and musicians to a whole new generation of listeners in the mid 1970s. McEuen has 14 film scores to his credit, including the Tommy Lee Jones movie Good Ole Boys. He has released multiple solo albums including four for Vanguard Records. In 2018, he published his autobiography The Life I Picked.

The Newsman: A Man of Record

John McEuen

MP3/320 $10.00
FLAC $12.00
WAV $12.00
WAV-HD $17.00
FLAC-HD $17.00
CD $15.00
SIGNED CD $16.00

Track Listing

The Newsman
Fly Trouble (Remastered)
The Cremation of Sam McGee
Old Rivers
The Guitar of Pineapple John
Killed at the Ford
Nui Ba Den
Red Clay
I'll Be Glad (When They Run Out of Gas) (Remastered)
The Mountain Whippoorwill (Remastered)
Jules' Theme