NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In Celebration of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 50th anniversary, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development honored bandmates Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen with special commemorative art pieces that included official Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill certificates signed by Gov. Bill Haslam. The special presentation took place at Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest, just prior to the band’s debut performance at the stadium. Brian Wagner, assistant commissioner of marketing, Department of Tourist Development, made the presentation to each member of the world-renowned group.
“We are incredibly proud of the impact that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has had on the musical heritage of Tennessee,” said Wagner. “Our brand message notes The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee. Over the past fifty years, the works created by these musicians, in collaboration with legendary country music artists, have served as a touchstone for so many new fans to the genre not just in the United States, but around the world.”
Matted and framed along with the certificates signed by Gov. Bill Haslam was a custom-designed piece of artwork. Text creating a circle border to the design read, “The Unbroken Circle. Part of the Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee. June 11, 2016.” Incorporated into the center of the design was the band’s 50th anniversary logo which states, “Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: 50 Years of Dirt.”
This is not the first acknowledgement Tennessee Tourism has shown for the group, as the department recently supported the group’s star-studded televised PBS Pledge Special, a project that has reinvigorated fans across the country. The show, filmed at the historic Ryman Auditorium, features guest artists including John Prine, Sam Bush, Vince Gill, Jerry Jeff Walker, Alison Krauss, Rodney Crowell, Byron House, and Jerry Douglas as well as former members, Jimmy Ibbotson (long-time member for decades) and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and early NGDB member Jackson Browne.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has a full slate of dates commemorating the 50th milestone to run through the end of 2017, with many additional dates to be announced. Plans are extensive with select shows featuring special guests as well as many new exciting show elements.
ABOUT NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND:
The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country, rock and American roots music, marks its 50th birthday of nonstop touring and recording vital music. Formed in California in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band consists of founding members Jeff Hanna (guitars/vocals), Jimmie Fadden (drums/harmonica/vocals), John McEuen (banjo/fiddle/guitar/mandolin), and Bob Carpenter (keyboards/accordion/vocals). The group has lasted longer than virtually any other group of their era with multi-platinum and gold records, including legendary hits “Mr. Bojangles” and “Fishin’ in the Dark” (certified platinum for digital downloads in 2014 and the longest recurrent country radio song of all time). Their groundbreaking 1972 Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, which assembled the living legends of country, bluegrass and mountain music to record what many critics have hailed as “an American treasure,” has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress and the Grammy Hall of Fame. “Mr. Bojangles” was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010. Most recently the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, class of 2015. For more information, visit <nittygritty.com>.