Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- the iconic and profoundly influential group often cited as the catalysts for an entire movement in country and roots music -- have finished work on their first studio album in five years, 'Speed of Life.' Out September 22 on NGDB Records, distributed by Sugar Hill, the new album finds the band at their laid back, ramshackle best, eschewing the large collaboration approach here for a set of songs anchored by the remarkably deft musicianship, and diverse songwriting and vocal styles of the core band of Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter, and John McEuen.
Recorded in Nashville's Blackbird Studio and produced by legendary recording guru George Massenburg and GRAMMY award winning singer/songwriter Jon Randall Stewart, 'Speed of Life' kicks off with Jimmie Fadden's blistering harmonica on the opening track "Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me," setting the tone for an album that spans the gamut from the wistful and flawless vocal harmony of "Resurrection" to "Lost In The Pines," John McEuen's evocative banjo showpiece. 'Speed of Life' features 13 tracks, including new tunes penned by the band (with help from a handful of friends) and two covers: the Woodstock classic “Going Up The Country” and “Stuck In The Middle.” Not to mention a blazing two-step throwback nod to bluegrass progenitor Jimmy Martin, on the aptly named "Jimmy Martin."
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's place among the most innovative artists in American roots music is secure. One of the first to join the disparate scenes of classic old-time and country music with the then nascent California folk-rock movement, the band's early recordings and collaborations are perhaps the origin of the genre now known as Americana. 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken,' their 1972 landmark featuring an all-star array of country icons, is rightly considered one of the defining moments in Nashville's – and America's - music history, and is now preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry. With the second installment of ‘Circle’ in 1989, the group extended their list of prestigious collaborators and garnered three GRAMMY Awards and the Country Music Association Album of the Year. NGDB are also the recipients of the International Bluegrass Music Association Recorded Event of the Year award and a 2005 Grammy for Country Instrumental Performance (with Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Jerry Douglas and the late Vassar Clements).