“You’re entitled to know why I’m making contact / With acquaintances scattered all over the land / I promise you now that I’d honor the contract / If it hadn’t crumbled away in my hand.” That’s Roger McGuinn, he of “Turn Turn Turn” and “Eight Miles High” and a timeless, ringing 12-string Rickenbacker guitar, singing on his first album in ten years, Back From Rio. It’s hard not to read the words as part apology for nearly ten years of creative zilch, part explication of some of his recent activities–playing again with his old pals in the Byrds, or making this star-studded album. On the other hand, he didn’t write the song–Elvis Costello did. Besides the Costello and Tom Petty stuff, the album’s somewhat lame; the guest-star work really stands out next to McGuinn efforts like “Without Your Love,” whose chorus–“I’m without your love / Now that you’re gone”–strikes me as a bit tautological. Is McGuinn a burnout on the comeback trail? Or a hero (he did cowrite “Chestnut Mare,” after all) back to make good? Decide for yourself. Tonight, 7:30, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield; 472-0449.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Cuffaro.