the #1 New Release reported by Amazon over the first 6 weeks!

While doing about 7,000 interviews over the years it seemed half the later interviewers said “You should write a book!.” I started putting the words down, and 2500 interviews later it was coming together.  The next several years were spent editing and making it a story, instead of a list of events. As a teenager it was definitely the life I picked, to be a troubadour musician and see the world.  It was challenging to weave the story of a guy who went from dork to nerd to banjo player in with family life,  and travels living the dream of being part of known band I helped start.

John McEuen

As Amazon says: 

John McEuen is one of the founding members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, NGDB. Now 50-years strong, the band is best known for its evergreen bestselling album Will the Circle Be Unbroken and for its gorgeous version of the song “Mr. Bojangles.” McEuen is one of the seminal figures who conceived and originated the fusion of folk, rock and country, a unique sound still hugely popular today. In addition to performing on tour with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and on dozens of bestselling NGDB albums (many of which went platinum and gold), McEuen also has a successful solo performing and recording career.

And as a music producer, he won the Grammy Award in 2010 for producing The Crow, a music album by Steve Martin, John’s lifelong friend. McEuen writes candidly and movingly about the ups and downs in his life. Among the highs was NGDB’s tour of  the Soviet Union in 1977; they were the first American group to perform there.

Among the downs was the breakup of his family and leaving the band (the first time) in the same week. McEuen is a born storyteller, and his tales of working with everyone from Linda Ronstadt to Willie Nelson to Johnny Cash to the Allman Brothers to Bob Dylan to Dolly Parton to Earl Scruggs, to of course, Steve Martin will thrill every fan of folk, rock, and country music alike.

John McEuen

Comments on John’s New Book “The Life I’ve Picked”

“John McEuen was a breathtaking prodigy when he made his bones in the Southern California music scene of the early seventies. This book chronicles the realization of that early promise and the challenges of a professional musician’s life on the road.”
Linda Ronstadt
“Beautifully written, John’s book is an intimate and revealing memoir of a long and diverse music career and the ups and downs of life on the road. We’ve each had a complicated and thrilling journey since our high school friendship sent us off into the world.”
Steve Martin  comedian/actor/author
“Nitty Gritty is one of the greatest bands and gifts music will ever hold. John McEuen doesn’t know how not to be honest…as a player or an author. Your going to love this read!!” 
Garth Brooks               
“John McEuen has been a hero of mine since I first saw him flying around the stage with a fiddle at a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band show circa early seventies. What a ride this man has been on over all of these times passing. A key member of a legendary band, solo artist, radio host, producing great projects and all the while touring the world as an entertainer and enabler and influencer. John is a string music virtuoso and now an author. The Life I Picked is a fun and poignant read. I thought I knew John, but there is oh so much more to learn in this thrilling ride. The world is a better place because he has picked his way through it!”
Joe Bonsall 44 year member of the Oak Ridge Boys
“John’s terrific, funny, moving book makes you feel like you are right there with him on some of the most famous stages in the world, in the top recording studios and on the never-ending road. It makes you feel that an amazing successful career in music and show business is totally within reach – as long as you can play the banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and guitar brilliantly.”
David Mirkin, Producer of The Simpsons
“The Life I’ve Picked is filled with great road stories. But when John wasn’t busy on the road, he was busy raising a houseful of kids – much of the time as a single parent. The road tales in this book are extremely entertaining, but John’s depictions of off-the-road time spent with family are extremely entertaining, too. This book is compelling, candid, hilarious, and heartwarming. With The Life I’ve Picked, John McEuen shows he’s not just a great musician – he’s also a hell of a writer.”
Randy Poe, author of Skydog: The Duane Allman Story


John McEuen Celebrates The Release of His Latest Solo Album
(By Chesky Records)

John McEuen brings together the diverse talents of his life-long “friends in music,” all of whom have been instrumental in molding Americana Music in their own right. McEuen invited these talented musicians and vocalists to join him to celebrate traditional recording style in hi-definition and make lifetime memories with new musical moments. The hi-def studio project was recorded in Brooklyn.

In the same manner as the album “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” another landmark is created:  MADE IN BROOKLYN.

MADE IN BROOKLYN featured performances:

  • String Wizard,” John McEuen (guitar/mandolin/banjo/fiddle)
  • David Bromberg (An icon on acoustic guitar and slide and other magical notes)
  • Steve Martin (Plays banjo on the Warren Zevon tune.)
  • David Amram (At 85, this American jazz/folk/classical treasure has recorded and  performed with everyone who’s anyone. David plays pennywhistle, flute and percussion.)
  • John Cowan (New Grass Revival’s lead vocalist, Cowan, is McEuen’s all time  favorite lead singer.)
  • John Carter Cash (Johnny and June’s son…The two Johns pay homage to his father in  “I Still Miss Someone.”)
  • Martha Redbone (Martha is a talented songstress for whom John produced the highly praised album THE SONGS OF WILLIAM BLAKE–GARDEN OF LOVE.)
  • Jay Ungar (A fiddle virtuoso, composer of “Ashoken’s Farewell”)
  • Andy Goessling (clarinet/mandolin/zither/sax/dobro for Railroad Earth)
  • Matt Cartsonis (Matt’s acrobatic and acerbic vocals are the perfect match to his guitar and mandola talents.)
  • Skip Ward (bass) 
  • Lars (Lars is all ears!)


John tells G. Brown about forming the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jeff Hanna and Jimmy Fadden (3:06), listening to 17-year-old Jackson Browne debut “These Days” (4:22), moving from southern California to Colorado (6:29), creating Will the Circle Be Unbroken with country music’s greats (8:55), recording the Colorado-inspired masterpiece “Ripplin’ Waters” (20:18), his adventures with pal Steve Martin (21:58), backing Steve on his smash “King Tut” (27:59), leaving and rejoining NGDB (34:44) and crafting his latest award-winning solo work (37:29).

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