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Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Scorpions, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Beach Boys, Metallica, Billy Joel, Dean Reed, Joanna Stingray And Pete Anderson Among Artists Documented In Rock & Roll Revolution

-- Screening at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame And Museum This Evening --

Since his teenage years in Orange County, Calif., John McEuen (one of the founding members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) has relished the freedom of creativity and expression of music. His award-winning career, spanning more than a half-century, has yielded McEuen the industry's highest accolades including multiple GRAMMY awards as both record producer and recording artist. His early contribution to American music and its history, alongside his fellow Nitty Gritty Dirt Band mates, is now being accredited in helping to break the grip of Communism as highlighted in the new 60-minute documentary titled "FREE TO ROCK: How Rock & Roll Helped End the Cold War."

McEuen and Nitty Gritty band mate, Jeff Hanna, share their thoughts and are featured among renowned artists who were the first to export Rock & Roll beyond the walls of Communism--offering a taste of freedom.  The musical connection became a touchstone for a cultural firestorm that ultimately would help bring down the Iron Curtain.

Directed and produced by four-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker Jim Brown [alongside Douglas Yeager, Nicholas Binkley and Soviet rock pioneer Stas Namin (Producers/Executive Producers) and Executive Producers

John Beug and Bill Ivey], "FREE TO ROCK" includes interviews with former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev, KGB General Oleg Kalugin, and world-renowned recording artists Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys and The Scorpions. Other rock legends featured in the film are Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters (spotlighting the WALL Concert in Berlin), Metallica and the Iron Curtain rock legends they inspired.

Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, the film is guided by a "blue ribbon panel" of scholars, experts, diplomats and humanities advisers from across the U.S., Eastern Europe and the former republics of the Soviet Union.

For more information on "FREE TO ROCK, please visit

Prior to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band infamous tour, Russian audiences had enjoyed performances by very few American jazz groups (such as Benny Goodman and  Duke Ellington), solo folk artists (like Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and Odetta) and the acoustic country band of Roy Clark. Electric rock acts were forbidden.

McEuen recalls the intensity he experienced from the soviet crowds during the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's tour. "Most of the people we met wanted to hear stories about America and they were enthralled by them," McEuen stated, "and the bike track in Armenia was crazy...FUN crazy! It was like being in The Beatles at Woodstock." 

An exclusive screening of the film will be held THIS EVENING (Wednesday, June 29) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Foster Theater, Cleveland, OH at 7:00 PM. The documentary preview is part of the Rock Hall's 2016 film series and is presented in support of the museum's new exhibition, Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics.

"I have always believed there is power in music," McEuen added, "...but it's an incredible thing when it actually helps change the face of a nation and the world." (Stories and photos from the Russian tour are integrated into McEuen's one-man, award-winning multi-media show.) 

For the latest John McEuen news, please visit, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.    

About John McEuen:

Over the course of his 50-year career, multi-instrumental "String Wizard," John McEuen has performed more than 9,500 concerts, covering more than three million miles globally with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and as a solo performer. McEuen has recorded over 40 albums (6 solo)--four platinum and five gold--garnering countless awards including GRAMMY and Emmy nominations, CMA and ACM awards and IBMA Record of the Year honors. As a musician, McEuen has built a lasting legacy including his seminal work on the

WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN album, recognized as "the most important record to come out of Nashville" (Rolling Stone) and "the most important record in country music" (2004 ZAGAT survey).  

Beyond performing, McEuen has produced more than 300 concerts throughout his career (the first in 1965 in Long Beach Calif. with Bob Dylan). In 2010, his record production of THE CROW (Steve Martin) won a GRAMMY for "Best Bluegrass Album."

McEuen has a rich history in creating, producing and preserving original, traditional folk and acoustic music and taking it to new audiences. McEuen's THE MUSIC OF THE WILD WEST was honored with the Western Heritage Award;he scored a GRAMMY nomination for STRING WIZARDS II and earned the Uncle Dave Macon Award for "excellence in preservation and performance of historic music." 

John is show host of the popular "Acoustic Traveller" radio show on Sirius/XM's The Bridge (now in its 8th year).  He is currently putting the final touches on a solo project (MADE IN BROOKLYN) to be released in September (Chesky Records).

    John McEuen's website:
    Free to Rock website:
    "Free to Rock" Video Trailer:
    "My Life in Music" (John McEuen Sizzle Reel):


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