Welcome To Woody Creek

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Dualtone Records, 2004


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band must be doing something right. It's a rare band that can keep the same five players for almost thirty years; rarer yet is the fact that they still sound like they're having fun playing their music. Welcome To Woody Creek, their latest CD and their first release in six years, is no exception; it's a mostly joyous romp through American roots music that leaves you smiling. I found my foot tapping a lot while listening to this CD; it's the kind of thing that makes you dance in your chair as you write the review. (If you don't know how to dance in your chair, that's your problem; I'm quite skilled at it.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The basics on the disc are straightforward. This is a stripped down, basic CD; it's recorded clearly, with minimal effects and excellent production. The musicianship is stellar; these guys have been playing for a few years, and it shows. I give particular kudos to the lead guitar on tracks like "Forever Don't Last"; the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band proves they can rock with liberal doses of fuzz-tone.

Most of the songs on here are originals; I particularly like the acoustic "Jealous Moon," with some truly lovely mandolin work. "It's Morning" is bright and cheerful; the kind of song that morning people love and a night owl like me eyes with a mix of disbelief and amusement. "Party On The Mountain" is a straightforward bluegrass boast, a lover offering great things to his chosen. "Safe Back Home" is a countrified ballad with strong hymn-like elements, and "Any Love But Our Love" is a beautiful traditional country song with Eagles-like harmonies. If country radio wasn't so enamored with crossover artists and jingoistic redneck nonsense, this would be a Top Ten Hit, and deserves to be. I have to give special kudos, though, to "Old Time's Sake." As someone who is going through a divorce, this pretty much captures the mix of sadness, joy, and closure that I'm feeling right now in my life.

There are a couple of covers on the CD; Gram Parsons' "She" is good, though I admit to having never warmed to Parsons' work. The real gem here is a blazing fast bluegrass cover of the Beatles' "Get Back"; now that's fun, and worth a second - and tenth - and hundredth listen.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is a joy, and best of all a reliable joy; they've been solid for years, and they're still firing on all cylinders. Welcome To Woody Creek is a wonderful CD.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dualtone Records, and is used for informational purposes only.