A founding member in 1966 of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band John McEuen is performing songs from his highly acclaimed new album, “Made in Brooklyn” at Fogartyville this Friday night! It is being presented by WSLR Sarasota’s Own Community Radio. John Cable, a previous NGDB member will be joining John on stage. Don’t miss out on this great event. You can get tickets at https://mkt.com/wslr-inc/item/john-mceuen-concert-conversation .
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is celebrating its 50th year in music. Founded in California, one of the original members during its inception was unknown singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, he left to go solo. A mix of folk, country and rock created their sound. NGDB was the first US band to tour Russia. They were nominated and won various CMA’s and Grammys. John has played with a who’s who of artists from various genres and is a highly respected musician. He took time out to give us a quick interview before Friday night’s show.
1. It is amazing that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is celebrating 50 years in music. What do you attribute the longevity of the band to?
Perseverance… toleration and good fortune that fans liked what gets out there.
2. How did your musical relationship start with Steve Martin for whom you produced and won a Grammy?
We met while in high school.. He says I introduced him to the banjo and showed him in the early years a direction.
3. You have played the Grand Ole Opry more than any other California artist, what does Nashville mean to you musically?
It is a 2nd home musically. One where I am proud of the acceptance of my own music, aside from the group, that has always embraced my solo work.
4. Who are some of your favorite artists you have worked with over the years?
Leon Russell, Jimmy Martin, Jose Feliciano, Steve Martin,
5. Your new album, “Roots Music, Made in Brooklyn” has been on the charts and doing well. What was your inspiration in making this record?
I wanted to make the best sounding acoustic music album possible in today’s world of recording and do it with people I have played with over the years, having kept track of ones who would record with me. Chesky Records is the best with audio, and the reviews are showing that people ‘get it’, that when you listen to it you feel like you are in the middle of the band. Also, there were many pieces of music the NGDB, for various reasons, could not record… and it is difficult to be in a group and tell the others “I have 15 songs for the next album!”. So I must make my own.
6. How did you discover Manatee County and what made you decide to live here?
Searching the area for a great place to locate, I found the one that is the best in all my travels – and the house that one could only dream for.. but then we found it!
7. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is touring for the 50th Anniversary and is making a stop at the Van Wezel in Sarasota on March 27th. What can we expect for this tour? Of course, I want to hear “Mr. Bojangles” as it is a favorite!
The NGDB is playing music from its entire 50 year history, many songs that have not been on the stage in over 30 years and that is a great thing for the audience and the group. We play OUR favorites and fortunately they are also favorites of the audience! Bojangles gets better every night
It is in the solo format that I get to take people ‘behind the curtain’ of some of the NGDB history and music and play acoustic driven music that often does not fit in to the band format.
All photos provided by John McEuen