Host DM Collins of The DM Zone talks Fishing in the Dark, Mr. Bojangles and more with Jimmie Fadden of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band live from Country Thunder.

Founded in California during 1965, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has lasted longer than virtually any other country-based rock group of their era. Younger contemporaries of the Byrds, they played an almost equally important role in the transformation from folk-rock into country-rock, and were an influence on such bands as the Eagles and Alabama. the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s beginnings lay with the New Coast Two, a folk duo consisting of Jeff Hanna (guitar, vocals) and Bruce Kunkel (guitar, washtub bass), formed while both were in high school in the early ’60s. By the time the two were college students, they were having informal jams at a local guitar shop. It was there that they met Ralph Barr (guitar, washtub bass), Les Thompson (vocals, mandolin, bass, guitar, banjo, percussion), Jimmie Fadden (harmonica, vocals, drums, percussion), and Jackson Browne (guitar, vocals). This lineup became the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in late 1965, and began playing jug band music at local clubs. At that time, Southern California was undergoing a musical renaissance, courtesy of the folk-rock movement and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fit in with these other folkies-turned-rockers. Browne left after a few months to pursue a solo career, and was replaced by John McEuen (banjo, fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals), the younger brother of the group’s new manager, Bill McEuen. With Bill McEuen’s guidance, the group landed a recording contract with Liberty Records and released their debut album, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, in April of 1967. Their first single, “Buy for Me the Rain,” became a modest hit and got the band some television appearances.

In 1989, both as a reflection of the changing times, and as though to make sure that everyone got the point that the band was once again mining its country roots, they made Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 2 for MCA/Universal Records, reuniting with surviving country and bluegrass veterans from the original album and adding a whole roster of new players, including Johnny Cash, Chris Hillman, and Ricky Skaggs. This album won the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance (duo or group) and the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year Award in 1989. By this time, the Dirt Band was working in their field alongside any number of country/bluegrass crossover artists whose career paths were made easier by that first record, including John Hiatt, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Rosanne Cash. Their next several albums saw them never veering very far from their country/bluegrass roots. The group continued to record a new album every year or so, including a concert album, Live Two Five, celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band, and the self-explanatory Acoustic. In 1999, they returned with Bang Bang Bang. It was followed by the third installment of the Will the Circle Be Unbroken trilogy in 2002 and an album of all new material, Welcome to Woody Creek, in 2004. Ibbotson left after the record and tour, having had enough of the road. NGDB celebrated their 43rd anniversary with the stellar Speed of Life issued by Sugar Hill, recorded live in the studio with a few of Nashville’s finest providing instrumental and vocal help, and the production assistance of George Massenburg and Jon Randall Stewart.

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The DM Zone is a syndicated, online television channel that is hosted across multiple video platforms across the Internet. With combined views exceeding 420,000 unique views over the last 18 months, the DM Zone is a compelling platform for politicians, authors, actors, athletes, musicians and other creative professionals. Host Dianemarie (DM) Collins interviews highly creative, talented professionals for this Online TV program. A veteran performer in acting, singing, dancing and choreography, DM has appeared in productions from Broadway and off-Broadway to nightclubs and dinner theaters throughout the country. DM has also been featured in numerous print advertisements as well as many voiceovers for radio, an actress in television commercials, and an actor in several feature films.

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