The Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ history in song

Missouri band has been conveying life through music for more than four decades

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Where: Missouri Theatre
When: 7 p.m., August 15
Price: $32-76
Call: 573-882-3781

For more than 40 years, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils have shared their members’ stories through song: romances, tragedies and adventures. Although they don’t tour like they used to, theirs is still a tale set to music.

These 11 songs from the band’s first three decades capture the grand themes and quotidian moments of their existence. “We’ve all been very fortunate, and we’ve made our living with this, doing this all our lives,” guitarist and fiddler John Dillon says. “The songs will probably outlive all of us.”


Album: The Ozark Mountain Daredevils — The Quilt Album
Song: “Spaceship Orion”
Two years after forming, the band produced its first album with A&M Records, a move that transported the group from Ozark-country obscurity to a new stratosphere of national fame.


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Albums: The Lost Cabin Sessions; It’ll Shine When It Shines
Song: “It Couldn’t Be Better”
Conveying what Dillon calls “hillbilly Zen,” the album captures the feeling of cutting a record in a farmhouse.


Album: The Car Over the Lake Album
Song: “Keep on the Churnin’”
Persistence, effort and gumption are the keys to success as a band (and in making butter).


Album: Men From Earth
Song: “Watermill”
It’s a mill and a metaphor about expanding your mind.



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Albums: Don’t Look Down; It’s Alive
Song: “Commercial Success”
“It’s art vs. commerciality,” Dillon says, ”and totally explains the irony of the music business.”


Album: Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Song: “Fool’s Gold”
Be careful what you wish for: What you get might not be what you need.


Album: The Best
Song: “Followin’ the Way That I Feel”
A collection of some of the band’s most popular songs allowed members to keep their music alive in the United States while touring extensively through Canada.


Album: Modern History
Song: “I’m Still Dreaming”
This love song was picked up by the band Alabama, and it explores how some dreams can last long after sleep ends.


Album: Now Hear This!
Song: “Over Again”
Sold on cassette at concerts, Dillon says the album’s songs were poetry set to melodies.



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Albums: Archive Alive; 13
Song: “Beauty in the River”
A throwback after two and a half decades, Archive Alive contains some early tunes, including “Beauty in the River,” an Ozark Mountain spiritual.


Album: Time Warp
Song: “Road to Glory”
As this song says, “there is a road to glory somehow hidden in the past.” That path might be hidden now, but for Dillon it has led them around the world while keeping the band firmly grounded in its Missouri roots. “It’s been a wonderful blur,” he says.


All images courtesy of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.