Club Red: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 7/26

Named by Skiing Magazine as one of ski country’s best concert venues, Club Red brings a wide variety of crowd-pleasing entertainers to Telluride and Mountain Village. Given the fact the Telluride region has long been a hotbed for national touring acts, Club Red adds another chapter to that rich history. The intimate music venue inside the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village is family-friendly and allows guests to get up close and personal with the talent.

All shows are open to all ages, with a variety of ticket options ranging from general admission to high-table seating to preferred platform seating, and some VIP-ticketed experiences.

Denise Mongan of Beyond the Groove programs the shows at Club Red. And she always nails it. Which means Club Red shows sell out quickly. Denise just announced The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in concert July 26. Yes, 50+ years and still going strong – with just a few tweaks. Doors, 7:30 p.m. Caveat emptor: You snooze. You lose.

Go here for a preview of the show. (Minus “the friends.”) More here.

Tickets, $45- $95, here.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, image, Glen Rose.

With a refreshed lineup and newfound energy, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band remains one of the most accomplished bands in American roots music.

Following an extended 50th anniversary tour, the ensemble grew to six easy pieces in 2018 for the first time since their early jug band days. The group now includes Jeff Hanna (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Jimmie Fadden (drums, harmonica); Bob Carpenter (keyboards); Jim Photoglo (bass, acoustic guitar); Ross Holmes (fiddle, mandolin); and Jaime Hanna (electric and acoustic guitar). Everyone sings and when their voices merge, the harmonies add a powerful new component to the legendary band. And with the father-son pairing of Jeff and Jaime Hanna, Nitty Gritty carries on a country music tradition of blood harmony.

“It’s like when you throw a couple of puppies into a pen with a bunch of old dogs. All of a sudden, the old dogs start playing, you know? That’s kind of what’s happened with us. The basic vibe is so up and positive and the music– we’re hearing surprises from Jaime and Ross all night. And they’re encouraging us in the same way to take more chances. It’s opened a lot of doors for us musically, and the morale is really great. That’s important for a band that’s been out there for over 53 years,” said Jeff Hanna.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band played their first gig in 1966 in Southern California as a jug band. By 1969, the group had become a cornerstone of the burgeoning country-rock community. Their career breakthrough came in 1970 with the release of Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy and the single “Mr. Bojangles,” a folksy Top 10 pop hit that remains a staple of their live show.

During a tour stop in Nashville around that time, Earl Scruggs and his family came backstage to say hello. That introduction led to a friendship and some of the connections the band needed to record Will the Circle Be Unbroken.That three-disc album brought Nitty Gritty Dirt Band together with a number of country, folk, and bluegrass legends.. Icons like Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Jimmy Martin, Merle Travis, and Doc Watson joined the scruffy young band to record country music standards such as “I Saw the Light” and “Keep on the Sunnyside.” The acclaimed project is considered a landmark in American music.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band earned a pop resurgence in 1980 with “An American Dream” and “Make a Little Magic.” Those singles also found traction on the country chart, setting the stage for a major run at country radio. The band secured 16 Top 10 country hits between 1983 and 1990, including three No. 1 singles: “Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper’s Dream),” “Modern Day Romance,” and “Fishin’ in the Dark.” Bernie Leadon, a founding member of The Eagles, played in the band from 1986 to 1988, filling a vacancy by longtime member John McEuen.

With so much material to work with, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is making it a point to shuffle the set lists more often, meaning that this isn’t the same Dirt Band show from years past:

“We’re fortunate that we’ve got a deep songbook. That’s been on our list, to resurrect some of the tunes we haven’t done in a while, in addition to some new stuff,” Hanna says.

At the peak of their country career, the band toured Europe with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, who hinted that they would love to appear on a sequel to Will the Circle Be Unbroken if the band ever decided to make one. That gesture convinced the band to get back in the studio to record another all-star album. Circle Volume II featured Johnny and June, as well as Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, New Grass Revival, and many other marquee names – not to mention encore performances by Roy Acuff, Jimmy Martin, and Earl Scruggs. Released in 1989, the album won three Grammys and a CMA Award for Album of the Year.

As the country music landscape shifted toward a youth market, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band kept on touring and recording. They played on two projects by The Chieftains, cut a song with Karla Bonoff for an album dedicated to the 1996 Olympics, and contributed “Maybe Baby” to a Buddy Holly tribute, Not Fade Away.

Another collaborative album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume III, arrived in 2003. Soon after, the band earned an additional Grammy for “Earl’s Breakdown,” which they recorded with Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements, and Jerry Douglas. Meanwhile, both “Mr. Bojangles” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band took a moment to acknowledge its incredible history by filming a 50th anniversary concert event at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Guests for that “Circlin’ Back “special included early Dirt Band member Jackson Browne, Sam Bush, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, John Prine, Jerry Douglas, Byron House, Jerry Jeff Walker, and longtime Dirt Band member Jimmy Ibbotson. The concert aired as a nation-wide PBS Pledge special in 2016 and won a regional Emmy for Special Event Coverage.

Today, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band consists of Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter, for years known as “the new guy,” and Jim Photoglo, a friend of the band whose credits include co-writing “Fishin’ in the Dark”, as well as touring and recording with Carole King, Dan Fogelberg, and Vince Gill. Newest members Jaime Hanna and Ross Holmes also bring years of experience to the band. Hanna toured and recorded with The Mavericks and Gary Allan, while Holmes toured and recorded with Mumford & Sons and Bruce Hornsby.

“The energy these days is so up — and our fans have responded in a really great way,” Hanna says. “As a fan of other bands, I know how complicated it can be when members come and go. You can either embrace that or you don’t. Our fans are really gracious and I appreciate that. It’s been a really good run and there’s a lot of daylight ahead of us.”

Club Red, more:

Club Red is Telluride, Colorado’s premier music venue for national touring acts located at the base of Telluride Ski Resort in Mountain Village in the box canyon of Telluride. Club Red features a state of the art sound system, plush décor, ambient lighting, VIP seating, and intimate proximity between guests and artists to create an exclusive guest experience. Club Red’s capacity ranges from 400 to 850 based on show and venue configuration.

Founded in March 2014, Club Red was recently named one of ski country’s best concert venues by Skiing magazine. Past produced shows include Dawes, Blitzen Trapper, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Deer Tick, Matisyahu, Lettuce, Tanya Tucker, Keller Williams, Justin Townes Earle, Lucero, Jackie Greene, Jamestown Revival, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jenny Lewis, Elephant Revival, The Floozies, Con Brio, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, Anderson East, The Motet, JJ Grey & Mofro + many more…

Beyond the Groove, more:

Beyond The Groove is Telluride, Colorado’s premier entertainment and music production company with over 30 years of experience in music and concert production bringing shows to Club Red.

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