WC Gets Some Dirt

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. L to R, Jimmy Fadden on drums, Jaime Hanna on guitar, Jeff Hanna on guitar, Jim Photoglo on bass (behind Hanna), Ross Holmes on fiddle and Bob Carpenter on keyboards (Photo by Mrs. WC)

“Dirt,” in this case, is the fabulous Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who gave us a lovely two hour show at Boise’s Egyptian Theater last Thursday night. It’s pretty wonderful to go to a live concert again, even if WC and Mrs. WC were members of the maybe half a percent wearing face masks.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been around for about 57 years now. Two of the original members – Jeff Hanna and Jimmy Fadden – are still around, joined by Jeff’s son, Jaime Hanna, a very accomplished guitarist and vocalist, long-time members Bob Carpenter on keyboards and Jim Photoglo on bass, and the remarkable Ross Holmes on fiddle and mandolin.

Now it’s true that there wasn’t a single song in the show that was written in the current millennium, and that WC will be some time scrubbing off all that nostalgia, but at the same time it was pretty wonderful to hear all those great old songs performed by these talented artists who have played together so long. The Dirt have some pretty remarkable songs to their credit – Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles,” their own “Fishing After Dark,” “American Dream,” “Workin’ Man (Nowhere To Go)” and “Cosmic Cowboy,” to name just a few – and we got a nice sampling of those. The Dirt’s most recent release, Dirt Does Dylan, gave us very nice covers of “Girl from the North Country” and “Forever Young.” We were also treated to a fine selection of Americana and folk tunes, ranging from John Prine’s “Grandpa Was a Carpenter” to Hank Williams’ “Honkytonkin'” and most everything in between. They closed the show with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” folded around The Band’s “The Weight” and a virtuoso performance of “Jambalaya.”

Jaime Hanna and his dad jamming on “Jambalaya”

It’s true that Jeff Hanna’s voice has lost some of its sweetness; age will do that. But that loss is offset by the amazing work of his son, Jaime, who is already a better guitar player than his pop and whose smooth baritone is an excellent counterpoint to his dad’s tenor. Jimmie Fadden can still play the drums and harmonica at the same time, and the comparatively recent addition of Ross Holmes on fiddle and mandolin is nothing short of electrifying. Holmes is a wonder, and would rank among the best fiddle players WC has been privileged to hear.

The Founding Fathers, Jimmy Fadden and Jeff Hanna, jamming on “Bayou Jubilee”

The band was clearly delighted to be in front of a live crowd again, and its was very clear the crowd was just as happy to be there. Yes, there was as much gray hair in the audience as in the band, and more than one member of the audience was using a walker. But there were some young people there, too.

It was a great show. If the Dirt’s tour is coming to your town, do yourself a favor and catch their show. WC’s thanks to the Dirt for stopping by Boise, and for showing us such a great time. Come again soon.

4 thoughts on “WC Gets Some Dirt

  1. Excellent review WC. It sounds like it was a stellar evening. Perhaps I should get out of my hole occasionally as I wasn’t even aware they were coming to town. Will Mrs WC and yourself be listening to Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples next week?

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  2. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Live. Does it get any better than that?!

    Side note: Does anyone care to speculate as to why so few folks were properly masked in an indoor venue (The Egyptian Theater in Boise, Idaho, as mentioned by WC.)


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