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Roger McGuinn to return, turn, turn

Roger McGuinn has performed his music publicly for more than 50 years but the former Byrds member never has had more fun than he's having right now.

"It's kind of like a honeymoon," the 67-year-old pop-music icon said in an Aug. 31 telephone interview.

"I'm getting paid to be on vacation. It's probably the best time of my life."

McGuinn will perform in concert on Sunday, Nov. 1, in the Port Angeles High School auditorium.

Joining the evening's lineup, electric cellist, vocalist and composer Jami Sieber will open the show.

The concert is a fundraiser for two nonprofits: the Peninsula Dispute Resolution Center and Arts Northwest.

"I think right now I'm having more fun now than any other part of my career," McGuinn said.

"The Byrds was hectic. It was very exciting, going from being studio musicians to first in the world, but that carried a lot of weight with it. I'm more comfortable now."

McGuinn was born James Joseph McGuinn III on July 13, 1942, in Chicago, but is called Roger.

The guitarist, singer and songwriter is best known as a member of the pio neering folk-rock band The Byrds, whose 1960s hits included "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Eight Miles High."

But he already was a veteran of the New York and Los Angeles folk music scenes when he co-founded the group that would become the Byrds with Gene Clark and David Crosby in 1964.

McGuinn had studied banjo and guitar as a teenager at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music and performed in local clubs. He toured and recorded with the famed Limeliters folk group and the Chad Mitchell Trio until pop singer-songwriter Bobby Darin lured him away to be a session musician and songwriter.

By 1963, McGuinn had worked as a sideman and arranger for a variety of acts including Hoyt Axton, the Irish Rovers, Judy Collins, and Tom and Jerry (later known as Simon and Garfunkel).

Despite his deep roots in folk music, McGuinn was not one of those who was aghast when Bob Dylan first played an electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965.

"Not at all; I was going electric too. It was in the air after The Beatles came out. I saw the movie 'A Hard Day's Night' and it was so much fun."

McGuinn said the songs on this tour will cover his entire career, not just

The Byrds.

"I mix it up. I do The Byrds and solo material and new material and songs from my folk band Web site, folkden.com," he said.

"I started that in 1995 to keep traditional folk songs alive. By 1995, you weren't hearing any traditional folk songs anymore. So I have 170 MP3s on my site to download and I won't sue you."

McGuinn said he's

looking forward to the upcoming tour.

"We're out about half the year with quite a few dates in the states and we're solid in Europe. It goes from Sept. 10 to November, then we're off for a couple of months.

"It should be a lot of fun. My favorite thing to do is drive cross country. We love it; we have favorite restaurants and hotels."

McGuinn said he enjoys playing Carnegie Hall in New York City and London's Royal Albert Hall and wants to play the Sydney Opera House.

"I enjoy places that are pretty inside and where people enjoy themselves."

McGuinn has recorded 18 albums since the breakup of the Byrds.

He has performed with Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Bob Gibson, Kinky Friedman (a candidate for governor of Texas in the last election), Bo Diddley, Earl Scruggs, Vern Gosdin, Crowded House, Tom Petty, Leon Redbone, Dolly Parton, Bobby Darin and Elvis Costello.

Regarding his old bandmate David Crosby, McGuinn said he called him on Aug. 14 to wish him a happy birthday "and that's been it."

Even though he's two years past traditional retirement age, McGuinn doesn't see himself hanging up his guitar anytime soon.

"No, why would I wanna stop? I've got a good thing, good enough. I just love it. It's great work if you can get it.

"I've been fortunate to have an ability to make a living at it. It's been a really good long run. I'm starting to get the hang of it."

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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