Speed of Life

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/22/2009
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • UPC: 015891405827
  • Catalog Number: 14058

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The 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, Mastering
Mark D. Sanders Composer
Doug Sax Mastering
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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

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3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good listen

    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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews