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Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Plays Ryman Auditorium Sept. 14

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Nashville, TN -- The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter, and John McEuen at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church of Country Music, on September 14, 2015. With instrumental greats Sam Bush on mandolin, Jerry Douglas on resonator guitar, and Byron House on bass. With contributions from Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famers John Prine and Rodney Crowell, legendary gypsy troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (and original Dirt Band member) Jackson Browne, and former NGDB band member Jimmy Ibbotson will be among the guests joining the guys onstage.

All of this is in celebration of the Dirt Band making vital American roots music for fifty years. That's what's happening. And it's being taped for PBS, to air during the national pledge drive, March 5-20, 2016. "We're humbled to have all of these amazing artists, who happen to be our friends, come out to honor this legacy," says the Dirt Band's Jeff Hanna.

From its inception in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has wound country, folk, rock, blues, and bluegrass influences into something distinct and singular. The band began as a rag-tag, scruffy jug band, playing in Southern California folk clubs. Browne exited after a few months, string wizard John McEuen joined the group, and the Dirt Band took on a style and form that is now familiar and celebrated as a pioneering country-rock act, with radio hits including the Crowell-penned songs "Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)" and "An American Dream," as well as, the platinum single, "Fishin' in the Dark."

The band's genre-bending 1972 Will the Circle Be Unbroken project which found them recording classic country songs with legendary elders including Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, and Jimmy Martin is in the Grammy Hall of Fame, as is the group's Walker-penned 1970 classic, "Mr. Bojangles." "We've been friends for years, but before I knew them, I was a fan," says John Prine. "The Will the Circle Be Unbroken album was a huge thing for me. I loved country music, and I loved folk music. Them recording all those great old songs, with those great singers and players, that solidified the whole thing for me. I heard that and felt like I had a friend somewhere."

Prine sang his "Grandpa Was A Carpenter" on the second Circle volume, an album that featured Douglas, Bush, Johnny Cash, and others, and that won three Grammys and a Country Music Association Album of the Year prize. Gill contributed "All Prayed Up" to the third Circle, an album that yielded Grammy-winning country instrumental "Earl's Breakdown."

The Ryman concert and the resulting PBS special will celebrate the entirety of the band's career, as Hanna, Fadden, Carpenter, and McEuen carry the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band forward, into its 50th year of music-making, of unbroken circles, of partnership, brotherhood, and friendship. Tickets are $45 and $55, available beginning July 31 at 10 a.m., at all Ticketmaster locations, the Ryman Auditorium box office, and

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