Long before Americana music had a name, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band helped lead the charge, mixing elements of country, bluegrass, folk, mountain music, and rock & roll into a sound that celebrated the full range of American music. The guys were traditionalists and trendsetters, performing songs that nodded to the past while still pushing toward the future. Released in 1972 – just six years after the group formed in Southern California – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken still stands as one of the most beloved albums in the country catalog, pairing the young band with legends like Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Mother Maybelle Carter.
Many decades have passed since that milestone album’s release, with the members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band now enjoying their own legendary status. They continue to blur lines between genres, however, and Circlin’ Back accomplishes something very similar to the classic Will the Circle Be Unbroken, pairing the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with the hit-makers, rule-breakers, and iconic figures of today’s roots music community. This time, Hanna, Fadden, Carpenter, and McEuen are the elder statesmen, passing down their influence and inspiration to a younger class without giving up the torch just yet. There’s more music to be made, after all. More shows to play. Another half-century to chase down. The circle rolls on.