Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two
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Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two
Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two cover
Studio album by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Released May 1, 1989 (1989-05-01)
Producer Randy Scruggs and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band chronology
(1988) Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two
(1989) The Rest of the Dream
Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two (also Circle II) is a 1989 album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The album follows the same concept as the band's 1972 album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which featured guest performances from many notable country music stars.
Circle II features largely acoustic, bluegrass music instrumentation with a line-up of contemporary country music artists that includes Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, John Denver, Emmylou Harris and Ricky Skaggs. Returnees from the first Circle are bluegrass musician Jimmy Martin, banjoist Earl Scruggs, fiddler Vassar Clements and singer Roy Acuff.
Other artists represent the rock, folk and pop genres, including Levon Helm from The Band, John Prine, John Hiatt and Bruce Hornsby.
Among the tracks is the Bob Dylan composition, "You Ain't Goin Nowhere", sung as a duet by former members of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, their first reunion in many years.
The roster of session musicians for the album included many notable performers, including fiddler Mark O'Connor, resonator guitarist Jerry Douglas, banjoist Béla Fleck, guitarist Chet Atkins and bassist Roy Huskey, Jr., son of bassist Junior Huskey, who had played on the first Circle.
Like the first Circle, the album features snippets of studio chatter. In the lead-in to John Denver's song, "And So It Goes", someone asks, "Is this practice?" Denver replies: "They're all practice."
In an intro to the song "Riding Alone", Emmylou Harris summed up her thoughts about relaxed atmosphere of the recording sessions, saying: "Years ago I had the experience of sitting around in a living room with a bunch of people and singing and playing, and it was like a spiritual experience, it was wonderful. And I decided then that was what I was going to do with my life was play music, do music. In the making of records, I think over the years we've all gotten a little too technical, a little too hung up on getting things perfect. We've lost the living room. The living room has gone out of the music, but today I feel like we got it back."
Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two was certified gold in the United States and Canada. The album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Top Country Album chart and at 95 on the Billboard 200. Singles from the album included John Denver's "And So It Goes", "Turn of the Century", "When It's Gone" and "One Step Over the Line".
It won Grammy Awards in 1990 for Best Bluegrass Recording (for "The Valley Road", with Bruce Hornsby) and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It also won Album of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards. A documentary film, The Making of Will the Circle Be Unbroken II, was released by Cabin Fever Entertainment.
Circle II was followed up with a 2002 album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Three, which coincided with the 30th anniversary re-release of Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
 Track listing
1. "Life's Railway to Heaven" (Traditional, arranged by Johnny Cash) " 4:39
* Lead vocal and guitar by Johnny Cash with June Carter Cash, Anita Carter and Helen Carter (as the Carter Family)
* Randy Scruggs plays "Mother" Maybelle Carter's Gibson L5
2. "Grandpa Was a Carpenter" (John Prine) " 3:24
* Lead vocal and guitar by John Prine
3. "When I Get My Rewards" (Paul Kennerley) " 4:25
* Lead vocal by Levon Helm
4. "Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan" (Traditional) " 3:56
* Mandolin and first verse lead vocals by Sam Bush, second-verse vocals by John Cowan and Bob Carpenter
5. "Little Mountain Church House (Jim Rushing/Carl Jackson) " 3:32
* Lead vocal and guitar by Ricky Skaggs
6. "And So It Goes" (Paul Overstreet/Don Schlitz) " 3:54
* Lead vocal by John Denver
7. "When It's Gone" (Jimmie Fadden/Don Schlitz) " 2:34
* Lead vocal by Jimmy Ibbotson
8. "Mary Danced With Soldiers" (Kennerley) " 3:07
* Lead vocal and guitar by Emmylou Harris
9. "Riding Alone" (Bob Carpenter/Jeff Hanna/Richard Hathaway) " 3:09
* Lead vocals by Bob Carpenter and Emmylou Harris
10. "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" (Walter Vinson/Lonnie Chatmon) " 3:10
* Lead vocal and guitar by Jimmy Martin
11. "Lovin' on the Side" (Paulette Carlson, Jimmy Ibbotson, Sandy Waltner) " 2:57
* Lead vocal by Paulette Carlson
12. "Lost River" (Michael Martin Murphey) " 3:26
* Lead vocal and guitar by Michael Martin Murphey
13. "Bayou Jubilee" (Jeff Hanna) " 3:01
* Lead vocal by Jeff Hanna
14. "Blues Berry Hill" (Carpenter/Fadden/Hanna/Ibbotson/R. Scruggs) " 3:26
* Instrumental, featuring Randy Scruggs on lead guitar
15. "Turn of the Century" (J. Fred Knobloch/Dan Tyler) " 3:39
* Lead vocals by Jimmy Ibbotson (first verse), Jeff Hanna (second verse) and Bob Carpenter (third verse)
16. "One Step Over the Line" (John Hiatt) " 4:30
* Lead vocal and guitar by John Hiatt with Rosanne Cash, vocals
17. "You Ain't Going Nowhere" (Bob Dylan) " 3:53
* Lead vocals and twelve-string guitar by Roger McGuinn with Chris Hillman, lead vocals and guitar
18. "The Valley Road" (Bruce Hornsby) " 4:13
* Lead vocals and piano by Bruce Hornsby
19. "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" (A. P. Carter/last verse lyrics by Jimmy Ibbotson) " 5:39
* Lead vocals by Johnny Cash (first verse), Roy Acuff (second verse), Ricky Skaggs (third verse), Levon Helm with Emmylou Harris (fourth verse) and Jimmy Ibbotson (fifth verse)
* Backing choir: Roy Acuff, Cynthia Biederman, Sam Bush, Paulette Carlson, Bob Carpenter, Gretchen Carpenter, June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Cindy Cash, John Cowan, Steve Dahl, John Denver, Jimmie Fadden, Bela Fleck, Pat Flynn, Radney Foster, Vince Gill, Jeff Hanna, Melody Hanna, John Hiatt, Chris Hillman, Bruce Hornsby, Jimmy Ibbotson, Helen Carter Jones, David Jones, Bashful Brother Oswald, Bill Lloyd, Jimmy Martin, Michael Martin Murphey, Roger McGuinn, Tracy Nelson, Robert Oermann, Brad Parker, Don Schlitz, Earl Scruggs, Gary Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Steve Scruggs, Lynn Shults, Marty Stuart, Wendy Waldman, Steve Wariner, Cheryl White, Sharon White, Bobbie White
20. "Amazing Grace" (John Newton) " 1:48
* Solo guitar, performed by Randy Scruggs