The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, a longtime Colorado favorite, has returned to solid ground. When the act started in the late '60s, it first tried the jug-band circuit but didn't gain a real audience until it added drums and occasional electric guitars, creating the country-meets-folk-rock sound that's still popular today. The band's newly hip old-timey style and rhythmic, roots-driven compositions tinged with redneck twang keep its songs on the radio. Still, the NGDB's musical trek has been a "Long Hard Road" paved with numerous personnel changes, crossover hits and misses, a country-music Grammy, a tour with Aerosmith, and a brief period when the act was redubbed the Dirt Band. The most memorable Dirt years, and albums, remain the ones in which the music came from the heart: mandolin-bluegrass emotions delivered with laid-back sincerity. And those best years are back -- as is Coloradan John McEuen, who rejoined the group in 2001 -- with the band playing such simple Americana basics as "American Dream," "Buy for Me the Rain" and "Workin' Man." Get back to the Nitty Gritty at Magness Arena this Sunday, June 6.
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