The Dirt Band also saw not one, but two albums released last year, reprising their half century of music. In February, Fishin’ In The Dark: The Best Of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, focused on their radio hits, and in September, Anthology arrived as a more comprehensive career retrospective– both measured the band’s impact on rock, country and various forms of roots music.
Fishin’ In The Dark: The Best Of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band serves as a 21-song greatest hits project. Containing the band’s biggest country and pop hits, it spans 1970’s “Mr. Bojangles,” the now country standards “Dance Little Jean,” and “Fishin’ in the Dark,” plus fan favorite album jewels like their take on Bruce Springsteen’s “Cadillac Ranch” and Colorado favorite “Ripplin’ Waters.”
Anthology functions as a comprehensive overview. Digging deeper into the history, it mines the seminal Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy, the groundbreaking and bridge-building Will The Circle Be Unbroken projects, plus deep dive tracks including “Fish Song” and “Cosmic Cowboy,” plus instrumentals “Randy Lynn Rag” and “Midnight at Woody Creek.” Anthology also includes fan favorite “Bayou Jubilee.”
“When you take a moment to pause and look at everything that’s happened over the past couple years,” marvels guitarist/vocalist Jeff Hanna, “it’s hard to get your head around. For a bunch of kids who wanted to be in a jug band, we’ve done some amazing things. But the love of the fans on the road, the friends who were part of our Ryman 50th Circlin’ Back show, which became a PBS special that went on to win an Emmy, it’s beyond what any of us could’ve imagined.”
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been an oft-changing line-up, that for the last four decades has included founding members Jeff Hanna and Jimmie Fadden, along with Bob Carpenter — with founding member John McEuen leaving and later coming back. Now, after the incredibly busy celebration of fifty years of music, multi-instrumentalist McEuen has opted to focus on personal endeavors. As Hanna says, “We’re thrilled we could have John with us for the 50th, and thank him for 37 great years of musical contributions. He has so much music to make, we respect his desire to focus on his music — and wish him the absolute best going forward. We know it’s going to be awesome.”
Check www.nittygritty.com/ for more information about the 2018 tour, including on-sale dates and new show announcements.