Speed of Life

Speed of Life

5.0 2
by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
     
 
Speed of Life is the first studio album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in five years and celebrates the group's 43rd anniversary with three of its original members still intact (and no, the number 43 was not a typo). It also finds them reduced once more to a quartet with the departure of multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Ibbotson. That

Overview

Speed of Life is the first studio album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in five years and celebrates the group's 43rd anniversary with three of its original members still intact (and no, the number 43 was not a typo). It also finds them reduced once more to a quartet with the departure of multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Ibbotson. That said, the band has lost none of its immediacy, power, or expert presentation of both original material and songs from some of Nashville's finest. Released by Sugar Hill Records (who distributes their NGDB Records imprint), the group recorded the set live in the studio. Produced by veterans George Massenburg and Jon Randall Stewart, this set sounds inspired, fresh, and like the NGDB has been utterly rejuvenated. It combines the old-/good-timey feel of their concert performances -- without adding American folk or country standards -- and the poignancy of their best studio recordings. Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter, and John McEuen were aided on this set by bassist Glenn Worf, guitarist Richard Bennett, and drummer Vince Santoro, as well as backing vocalists such as Matraca Berg (who also contributed a pair of songs to the album), Jessi Alexander, and Jaime Hanna. The set opens with an electric dobro and shuffling harmonica introducing "Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me," but these are quickly accented by acoustic guitars, mandolins, a popping snare, and McEuen's ubiquitous banjo. On the deeply moving "The Resurrection" -- written by Berg with Alice Randall -- Hanna's vocal is world-weary and bears its weight on his shoulders. There's hope in the waste, however, with images that are simply unforgettable -- such as a fired minister saying grace with a bunch of the lost and broken at a local diner. There's an unexpected bluegrass cover of Canned Heat's classic "Goin' Up the Country," that's done with the Dirt Band empathy, innovation, and rootsy elegance. Theirs is also a brief but haunting banjo interlude by McEuen called "Lost in the Pines," and the title track, written by Gary Scruggs is pure NGDB roots-country-soul. "Earthquake," written by Carpenter and McEuen, is a shuffling back porch country stomper. One of the album's big surprises is near the end in "Tryin' to Try" co-written by Fadden and Guy Clark. The lyric and feel are pure Clark, but the waves of guitars, mandolins, accordions, and that old-timey bassline is authentic, timeless NGDB. Ultimately, Speed of Life proves that the NGDB have reinvented themselves once more. Nothing here is of the slick Nashville variety. It feels as organic as their mid-'70s recordings, but the material is quite listener-friendly. It will certainly endear old fans -- and perhaps amaze them that 43 years later, they are still not only viable, but able to innovate, create, and shine through in a scene dominated by young stars who may not have even heard of them. These old dogs still have plenty of shine on them, plenty of country-soul to impart, and plenty of tricks to teach the kids.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/22/2009
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891405827
catalogNumber:
14058

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band   Primary Artist
Matraca Berg   Vocals,Guest Appearance
John McEuen   Fiddle,Mandolin,Vocals,Lap Steel Guitar,5-string Banjo,Group Member
Richard Rodney Bennett   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Richard Bennett   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Electric Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Bob Carpenter   Accordion,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Wurlitzer,Piano (Grand),Group Member
Jimmie Fadden   Harmonica,Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Group Member
Jeff Hanna   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Guitar (Resonator),Group Member
Vince Santoro   Percussion,Drums
Randy Stewart   Vocals
Glenn Worf   Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Jon Stewart   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jon Randall Stewart   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jaime Hanna   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jessi Alexander   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Randall Stewart   Vocals
Jimmie   Vocals

Technical Credits

Matraca Berg   Composer
Guy Clark   Composer
Tom Kell   Composer
Gerry Rafferty   Composer
Joe Egan   Composer
Phil Madeira   Composer
John McEuen   Composer
Shawn Camp   Composer
Bob Carpenter   Composer
Jimmie Fadden   Composer
Jeff Hanna   Composer
George Massenburg   Producer
Mark Sanders   Composer
Gary Scruggs   Composer
Jimmie Lee Sloas   Composer
Jon Stewart   Producer
Jon Randall Stewart   Producer
Alan Wilson   Composer
Donny Lowery   Composer
Alice Randall   Composer
Steve Lasseter   Booking
Steve Schweidel   Management
Troy Verges   Composer
Phil Sousann   Composer

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Speed of Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
lar08 More than 1 year ago
This is the Dirt Band that I love. The selection of songs is good, and something besides a totally electric performance is welcome. They still got it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago