The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, with Bob Carpenter, Jim Photoglo, Ross Holmes, Jaime Hanna, Jimmie Fadden and Jeff Hanna performs on Nov. 8 in Penticton. Glen Rose photo

Nitty Gritty still loves performing live

Fifty years hasn’t slowed down Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

After more than five decades leading the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jeff Hanna said he still looks forward to performing.

“More than anything, we love playing live,” said Hanna. “We love getting in the studio and creating as well, but the thing that really keeps it alive for us is going out and playing in front of people.”

The legendary band is stopping by the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton for a concert on Nov. 8, with Nice Horse opening for them.

“The smaller venues are great for us, because not only can we play for people, but we can engage them, we can talk to them,” said Hanna. “We play a lot of festivals as well, where there can be 60 or 70,000 people in the summertime, but it is tough to hit that back row.”

With a songbook stretching back 50 years and countless hits, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has a lot of music to draw from. Hanna said the crowd at the SOEC is going to hear some favourites, for sure.

“We try to hit the highlights. There are certain songs you are going to hear, like Cadillac Ranch and Fishing in the Dark and Mr. Bojangles. We can’t get out of the building without playing those,” said Hanna.

We’re grateful for those. It’s great to have tunes that people can relate to on such a big level. We are going for some deeper cuts as well. We touch on something from pretty much every record we made. We go way back now.”

The lineup of the band has changed over the years since the band formed in 1966, but Hanna is excited about the current lineup, which incorporates Ross Holmes (Mumford and Sons) on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals and Hanna’s son Jaime (The Mavericks, Hanna-McEuen, Garry Allan) on guitar and background vocals.

“Since May of this year, we’ve officially been a six-piece band with Jaime and Ross, and our buddy Jim Photoglo on bass,” said Hanna. That’s in addition to NGDB co-founder Jimmy Fadden on harmonica and drums, and long-time member Bob Carpenter on keyboard, accordion and bass.

“One of the things people have remarked on is the vocals, they say it is probably the strongest vocal lineup we’ve had,” said Hanna, adding that Holmes came out for a couple of shows in January and Jaimie came out and sat in on a couple.

“It was so magical, it was such a great vibe from the get-go,” said Hanna. “In terms of the energy in the band, it’s the best its been in decades.”

Being in a band for 50 years, you are going to have your disagreements with each other, Hanna admitted, and you can forget sometimes how much fun it is going to be.

“Right now, it is just a blast for all of us,” said Hanna. “I am really glad I get to play music with my kid, it’s fantastic.

“He’s been hearing this music his entire life. As a kid, he would come out on the road with us.”

Hanna said his son has earned his spot in the band, with some impressive musical credentials of his own.

“He’s done this for a long time, without being in the shadow of his dad,” said Hanna. “It’s fantastic, we’ve had a great time together. I’ve not gotten to spend this much time with my kid in years.

“It is so cool and he is a good guy and a great musician and a really talented singer and writer. I’m really grateful for that.”

Doors open for the concert at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the SOEC, with the concert starting at 7:30 p.m.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Home loss ends season for Sicamous Eagles

A defeat at the hands of the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Feb. 22 was the Eagles’ last outing.

PHOTOS: PeeWee Silverbacks finish season with 22 game win streak

The team has gone undefeated since November last year

Word on the street: What is your favourite pie-related memory?

With the 24th-annual Best of the Shuswap Pie Baking Contest taking place… Continue reading

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read