December 6th, 1988


Recording begins for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume 2" with Johnny Cash, John Denver, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs, Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, The Whites, Chris Hillman and others.

Circle II features largely acoustic, bluegrass music instrumentation with a line-up of contemporary country music artists. 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.


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 III, which coincided with the 30th anniversary re-release of Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

  • photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment
    photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment


    Kacey Musgraves and Taylor Swift receive four nominations apiece, making them the top country finalists in the 56th annual Grammy awards

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