Roger McGuinn, Roger McGuinn Live At The XM Studios 05/27/2004

Rob O'Connor

By Rob O'Connor

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Live at the XM Studios feels as if Roger McGuinn were sitting next to you in your living room. There he is, playfully recounting his career with the Byrds and as a solo artist with short, insightful stories that preface his incredible songs, singing with the same angelic grace as ever, casually strumming and picking his acoustic guitar like a good friend spending the evening. McGuinn is in fine fettle, whether it's "I Lost My Driving Wheel" or "Chestnut Mare," but his particular genius goes beyond singing and songwriting. The Byrds 'magic was always their incredible synergy, harmonies cascading into lush 12-string arrangements that twisted folk music into rock, psychedelia and country. Hearing these tunes stripped to their barest essentials is a revelation for any student of songwriting. The finale, "Eight Miles High," remains one of rock's finest recorded moments. Laying the song bare to just guitar exposes the original germ of a revolutionary idea that spurred McGuinn to further exploration and lends a bit of insight into his entire creative process.