Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Steve Futterman at Commonweal:

For open-eared pop music fanatics of the seventies, Circle was a gateway album that revealed vistas. It spoke of a world beyond the sonic eruptions of rock-and-roll, yet one that could exist peaceably alongside it. The unassuming splendor of the music I heard that night in Central Park, particularly the marvelous flatpicking and straight-from-the-hills singing of Watson and the offhand brilliance of Scruggs’s banjo playing—indeed, the seemingly effortless, stirringly unselfconscious virtuosity of both men—brought to life the pleasures of a new idiom, one I still cherish. It was the joy already embedded in that momentous album come to life.

Antecedents for the project were actually abundant. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Flying Burrito Brothers (with the stylistic pioneer Gram Parsons at the helm), the Band, the Grateful Dead, and, of course, Bob Dylan, among others, were already infusing elements of country and bluegrass into their sound.

more here.