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.”

 

'73QuiltAlbum_web1973
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.

 

'74Shine_web '74LostCabin_web1974
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.

 

'75CarLake_web1975
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).

 

'76MenEarth_web1976
Album: Men From Earth
Song: “Watermill”
It’s a mill and a metaphor about expanding your mind.

 

 

'78Alive_web '77LookDown_web1978
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.”

 

'80Daredevils_web1980
Album: Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Song: “Fool’s Gold”
Be careful what you wish for: What you get might not be what you need.

 

'81TheBest_web1981
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.

 

'89ModernHistory_web1989
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.

 

'90HearThis_web1990
Album: Now Hear This!
Song: “Over Again”
Sold on cassette at concerts, Dillon says the album’s songs were poetry set to melodies.

 

 

'97.13_web '97ArchiveAlive_web1997
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.

 

'00TimeWarp_web2000
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.