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The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Country group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

In addition to producing the pop hits Mr. Bojangles and Make a Little Magic, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band changed the way rock fans listened to country music with their 1972 triple album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, attested critic Jimmy Guterman in Rolling Stone. Seventeen years later, band members Jimmy Ibbot-son, Bob Carpenter, Jeff Hanna, and Jimmie Fadden got together not only with past group members Levon Helm, John McEuen, and Bernie Leadon, but with many stars of acoustic country music to record and release Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II. This follow-up was hailed by Bob Allen of Country Music as the sort of record youll find yourself listening to again and again and enjoying more with each and every spin. Thirteen years later, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gathered their friends, family, and fellow musicians together to record the third in what has become a classic series, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume III, which was released to critical acclaim in 2002.

The original members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, including McEuen, Hanna, and Fadden, formed the band when they were all in their late teens and early twenties. They hung around a Santa Monica folk institutionMcCabes Guitar Shopjamming on the guitar, listening to artists like Doc Watson and Brownie

For the Record

Members include Ralph Barr (born in Boston, MA), guitar, vocals; Merel Bregante , drums, percussion; John Cable , guitar, bass, vocals; Bob Carpenter , keyboards, accordion, vocals; Jackson Browne (born on October 9, 1948, in Heidelberg, Germany), guitar, vocals; Jackie Clark , bass, guitar; Chris Darrow , guitar, fiddle, vocals; Jimmie Fad-den (born on March 9, 1948, in Long Beach, CA), guitar, harmonica, vocals; Al Garth , violin, keyboards, vocals; Jeff Hanna (born on July 11, 1947, in Detroit, MI), guitar, vocals; Richard Hathaway , bass, vocals; Levon Helm (born on May 26, 1942, in Marvell, AR), drums, mandolin, vocals; Jimmy Ibbotson , guitar, mandolin, vocals; Bruce Kunkel (born c. 1948, in Long Beach, CA), guitar, violin, vocals; Bernie Lea-don , guitar, banjo, vocals; John McEuen (born on December 19, 1945, in Long Beach, CA), guitar, violin, vocals; Les Thompson (born in Long Beach, CA), bass, guitar, vocals.

Recording and concert act, 1967-. Group formed in Long Beach, CA, 1966; released first album, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, on Liberty, 1967.

Awards: Grammy Awards, Best Contemporary Folk Recording for Tribute to Steve Goodman, 1986, Best Bluegrass Recording for The Valley Road, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II, 1989; Country Music Association, Album of the Year for Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II, 1989.

Addresses: Record company Capitol Records, 1750 Vine St., Hollywood, CA 90028, website: http://www.hollywoodandvine.com. Band c/o Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, P.O. Box 9995, Bowling Green, KY 42102-4995. Booking William Morris Agency, 2100 W. End Ave., Ste. 1000, Nashville, TN 37203, phone: (615) 963-3000, fax: (615) 963-3090. Management The Fitzgerald-Hartley Co., 1212 16th Ave. So., Nashville, TN 37212, phone: (615) 322-9493. Website The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Official Website: http://www.nittygritty.com.

McGhee, and, in the words of McEuen to the Baltimore Sun, studying how to make a living without getting a job. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released their first albumaptly titled The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Liberty Records in 1967. The record included their first smash, the now-classic Mr. Bojangles, Jerry Jeff Walkers bittersweet song about a jailed dancer-turned-vagrant. The group was also the first to record singer-songwriter Kenny Logginss House at Pooh Corners. But after the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands initial success, they were not much in the public eye until they decided to record Will the Circle Be Unbroken. The group members, always interested in country music and adding folk-country flavor to their pop material, got together with country music pioneers Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter, and Earl Scruggs to make an album of traditional country favorites. In the words of Bob Millard, reporting in Country Music, the resulting effort, a three-album LP set full of notes and photos, brought together titans of traditional country music with fireballs of a younger generation, mixing traditional bluegrass and folk with [the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands] own brand of early country-rock.

The band had conceived of Will the Circle Be Unbroken in order to pursue their personal interests and were surprised at the response it received; the record sold a million copies and according to Millard, continues to sell roughly 30,000 copies yearly. As Allen pointed out, the album, played a significant role in initiating a younger, hipper audience into the pleasures of traditional country music. Will the Circle Be Unbroken influenced later artists as well. Band member Hanna told Millard that a lot of people like Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Mark OConnor or the guys in Newgrass Revival have told us that [the album] inspired them. For younger guys, not only was it some really great versions of a lot of those tunes, but it was also [saying] heres these young, hip guys playing country music and it made em stop and think. Will the Circle Be Unbroken increased the prestige and popularity not only of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band but also of the older country stars performing on it.

During the late 1970s, the band was the first musical group invited to tour the USSR by the Soviet government. In the early 1980s, the group shortened its name to The Dirt Band and had a couple of pop hits1979s An American Dream and 1980s Make a Little Magic, from albums of the same titles. As the 1980s continued, however, they returned to the original version of their name and began concentrating on country music anew. In 1987 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released the country-flavored Hold On, which music writer Alanna Nash predicted could end up on several of the music charts and not cheat buyers of any persuasion. But by 1989 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had decided that it was time for a sequel to their distinctive shared effort; thus, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II was born.

In the years between the two Circle albums, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had its share of personnel changes, and so, in addition to rounding up both classic country artists and some of the late 1980s most distinguished acoustic country performers, they also invited many of their own former band members to help on Volume II. Veterans of the first Circle like Acuff, Scruggs, and Vassar Clements returned; the late Maybelle Carter was represented by her daughter and son-in-law, June Carter and Johnny Cash, and also by granddaughter Roseanne Cash. Country artists Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, and Highway 101s Paulette Carlson were also included on Volume II. While Allen cited Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Carpenters lovely duet with Harris on Riding Alone, he also praised the fact that the Band willingly fades into the shadows to lend able background vocals and instrumental support to their talented guests. Other noteworthy tracks from Volume //include Dont You Hear Jerusalem Moan, One Step over the Line, and Lifes Railway to Heaven. In 1990 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released The Rest of the Dream, of which critic Ralph Novak of People assured readers: They get by quite nicely this time, without a little help from their friends.

Not Fade Away was released in 1992 on Liberty, the same label their debut album appeared on. It attained the dubious distinction of being their first album in nearly a decade that failed to yield a hit single. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Alanna Nash found fault with the four cover songs on the album that she felt stifled the momentum their original tunes had. They came back in 1994 with the self-explanatory Acoustic. Jeff Hanna spoke to Billboards Peter Cronin about how the fickle nature of radio influenced the recording of this album. We kind of got trampled in the country boom. When you come off several big country records in a row and then all of a sudden the airplay starts falling, you start second-guessing yourself. Weve analyzed it from every possible angle and basically come down to, Hey, lets just play our music. Cronin felt this approach worked well for the band. Ironically, by disregarding radios boundaries and letting artistic instincts rule over commercial concerns, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has made its most country-sounding record in years.

The band released several albums, including a set of Christmas songs, in the mid-to-late 1990s. However, the spotlight again eluded them until the beginning of the next century, which brought about the thirtieth anniversary of the original Circle recording, and a renewed interest in bluegrass and traditional country music. The movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? appeared in theaters. The soundtrack to the album was a surprise success, selling well over four million copies in the United States alone. The mix of bluegrass, country, and acoustic folk on the collection led to a revival of interest in such traditional forms of music.

Capitol Records rereleased the original Will the Circle Be Unbroken in 2002 to coincide with the thirtieth anniversay of the albums release. That year, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gathered their friends, family, and fellow musicians together once more to record Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume III. Guests on this album include original Circle veterans Doc Watson, Jimmy Martin, and Earl Scruggs; Circle 2 veterans June Carter, Johnny Cash, and Emmylou Harris; newcomers Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, Taj Mahal, Vince Gill, Dwight Yoakum; and family members Matraca Berg (wife of Hanna) and children Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen. Johnny Cash contributed a song hed written about the late Maybelle and Sara Carter, who both appeared on the original Circle. We couldnt wait to be a part of making that piece of history. It was chilling. McEuen wrote on his official website.

Although the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have had numerous spikes and dips in popularity over their 30-year history, they have maintained a devoted audience and have remained consistently innovative in the style of music they play, and that is probably the secret to their ongoing success. McEuen remarked to the Baltimore Sun Times with typical good-natured humor that merging country, folk, blues, and rock is like being in the country version of Spinal Tap. We play a rock-and-roll show; they say, Whats the country band doing here? We play a bluesgrass festival, they say: Whats that rock-and-roll band doing here?

Selected discography

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Liberty, 1967.

Ricochet, Liberty, 1967.

Rare Junk, Liberty, 1968.

Alive, Liberty, 1969.

Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy, Liberty, 1970.

All the Good Times, United Artists, 1972.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken (compilation), United Artists, 1972; reissued, Capitol, 2002.

Stars and Stripes Forever, United Artists, 1974.

Dream, United Artists, 1975.

Dirt, Silver, and Gold, United Artists, 1976.

The Dirt Band, United Artists, 1978.

An American Dream, United Artists, 1979.

Make a Little Magic, United Artists, 1980.

Jealousy, Liberty, 1981.

Hold On, Warner Bros., 1987.

Workin Band, 1988.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II (compilation), Universal, 1989.

The Rest of the Dream, MCA, 1990.

Greatest Hits, Curb/CEMA, 1990.

Live Two Five, Capitol, 1991.

Not Fade Away, Liberty, 1992.

Acoustic, Libery, 1994.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Excelsior, 1994.

The Christmas Album, Rising Tide, 1997.

Bang! Bang! Bang!, DreamWorks, 1998.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume III (compilation), Capitol, 2002.

Sources

Periodicals

Baltimore Sun Times, October 26, 2002.

Billboard, June 18, 1994; January 19, 2002.

Business Wire, November 25, 2002.

Country Music, September/October 1987; July/August 1989; September/October 1989;

Entertainment Weekly, October 30, 1992.

People, August 20, 1990.

PR, Newswire August 31, 2001.

Rolling Stone, May 18, 1989.

Sing Out!, Winter 2003.

Stereo Review, August 1987.

Online

John McEuen Official Website, http://www.johnmceuen.com (January 29, 2003).

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (January 17, 2003).

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Official Website, http://www.nittygritty.com (January 29, 2003).

The Ties That Bind, Nashville Scene, http://www.nashvillescene.com (January 29, 2003).

Elizabeth Wenning

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"The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/nitty-gritty-dirt-band-0

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Country group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

In addition to producing the pop hits Mr. Bojangles and Make a Little Magic, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band changed the way rock fans listened to country music with their 1972 triple album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, attested critic Jimmy Guterman in Rolling Stone. Seventeen years later, band members Jimmy Ibbotson, Bob Carpenter, Jeff Hanna, and Jimmie Fadden got together not only with past group members Levon Helm, John McEuen, and Bernie Leadon, but with many stars of acoustic country music to record and release Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II. This follow-up was hailed by Bob Allen of Country Music as the sort of record youll find yourself listening to again and again and enjoying more with each and every spin.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released their first albumaptly titled The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Liberty Records in 1967. The record included their first smash, the now-classic Mr. Bojangles, Jerry Jeff Walkers bittersweet song about a jailed dancer-turned-vagrant. The group was also the first to record singer-songwriter Kenny Logginss House at Pooh Corners. But after

For the Record

Band members have included Ralph Barr (born in Boston; guitar and vocals), Jackson Browne (born October 9, 1948, in Heidelberg, Germany; guitar and vocals),Bob Carpenter, Jimmie Fadden (born March 9, 1948, in Long Beach, CA; guitar, harmonica, and vocals), Jeff Hanna (born July 11, 1947, in Detroit; guitar and vocals), Levon Helm (born May 26, 1942, in Marvell, AR; drums, mandolin, and vocals), Jimmy Ibbotson, Bruce Kunkel (born c. 1948, in Long Beach; guitar, violin, and vocals),Bernie Leadon, John McEuen (born December 19, 1945, in Long Beach; guitar, violin, and vocals), and Les Thompson (born in Long Beach; base, guitar, and vocals).

Recording and concert act, 1967. Group formed in Long Beach, CA, 1966; released first album, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, on Liberty, 1967.

Addresses: Record company MCA Records, Inc. (UNI Distribution Corp.), 70 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608.

the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands initial success, they were not much in the public eye until they decided to record Will the Circle Be Unbroken. The group members, always interested in country music and adding folk-country flavor to their pop material, got together with country music pioneers Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter, and Earl Scruggs to make an album of traditional country favorites. In the words of Bob Millard, reporting in Country Music, the resulting effort brought together titans of traditional country music with fireballs of a younger generation, mixing traditional bluegrass and folk with [the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands] own brand of early country-rock.

The band had conceived of Will the Circle Be Unbroken in order to pursue their personal interests and were surprised at the response it received; the record sold a million copies and according to Millard, continues to sell roughly 30,000 copies yearly. As Allen pointed out, the album, played a significant role in initiating a younger, hipper audience into the pleasures of traditional country music. Will the Circle Be Unbroken influenced later artists as well. Band member Hanna told Millard that a lot of people like Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Mark OConnor or the guys in Newgrass Revival have told us that [the album] inspired them. For younger guys, not only was it some really great versions of a lot of those tunes, but it was also [saying] heres these young, hip guys playing country music and it made em stop and think. Will the Circle Be Unbroken increased the prestige and popularity not only of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band but of the older country stars performing on it.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s the group shortened its name to The Dirt Band and had a couple of pop hits1979s An American Dream and 1980s Make a Little Magic, from albums of the same titles. As the 1980s continued, however, they returned to the original version of their name and began concentrating on country music anew. In 1987 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released the country-flavored Hold On, which music writer Alanna Nash predicted could end up on several of the music charts and not cheat buyers of any persuasion. But by 1989 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had decided that it was time for a sequel to their distinctive shared effort; thus, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II was born.

In the years between the two Circle albums, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band had its share of personnel changes, and so, in addition to rounding up both classic country artists and some of the late 1980s most distinguished acoustic country performers, they also invited many of their own former band members to help on Volume II. Veterans of the first Circle like Acuff, Scruggs, and Vassar Clements returned; the late Maybelle Carter was represented by her daughter and son-in-law, June Carter and Johnny Cash, and also by granddaughter Roseanne Cash. Country artists Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, and Highway 101s Paulette Carlson were also included on Volume II. While Allen cited Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Carpenters lovely duet with Harris on Riding Alone, he also praised the fact that the Band willingly fades into the shadows to lend able background vocals and instrumental support to their talented guests. Other noteworthy tracks from Volume II include Dont You Hear Jerusalem Moan, One Step over the Line, and Lifes Railway to Heaven. In 1990 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released The Rest of the Dream, of which critic Ralph Novak of People assured readers: They get by quite nicely this time, without a little help from their friends.

Selected discography

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (includes Mr. Bojangles), Liberty, 1967.

Ricochet, Liberty, 1967.

Rare Junk, Liberty, 1968.

Alive, Liberty, 1969.

Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy, Liberty, 1970.

All the Good Times, United Artists, 1972.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken (compilation), United Artists, 1972.

Stars and Stripes Forever, United Artists, 1974.

Dream, United Artists, 1975.

Dirt, Silver, and Gold, United Artists, 1976.

The Dirt Band, United Artists, 1978.

An American Dream (includes An American Dream), United Artists, 1979.

Make a Little Magic (includes Make a Little Magic), United Artists, 1980.

Jealousy, Liberty, 1981.

Hold On (includes Fishin in the Dark, Joe Knows How to Live, Blue Ridge Mountain Girl, Babys Got a Hold on Me, Oleanna, Dancing to the Beat of a Broken Heart, Tennessee, and Angelyne), Warner Bros., 1987.

Workin Band, 1988.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II (compilation; includes Riding Alone, Dont You Hear Jerusalem Moan, One Step over the Line, Grandpa Was a Carpenter, and Lifes Railway to Heaven) Universal, 1989.

The Rest of the Dream (includes Just Enough Ashland City, The Rest of the Dream, From Small Things, Waitin on a Dark-Eyed Gal, and Blow Out the Stars, Turn Off the Moon), MCA, 1990.

Greatest Hits, Curb/CEMA, 1990.

Live Two Five, Capitol, 1991.

Sources

Country Music, September/October 1987; July/August 1989; September/October 1989.

People, August 20, 1990.

Rolling Stone, May 18, 1989.

Stereo Review, August 1987.

Elizabeth Wenning

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/nitty-gritty-dirt-band

"The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/nitty-gritty-dirt-band