Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Pay A Royal Tribute With New Album Dirt Does Dylan

Submitted by Sandy Graham

It’s been a few years since Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna paid $4 to see Bob Dylan play at his high school auditorium in Long Beach, California, but the fire lit inside of Hanna that night still burns as strong as ever. Hanna and his Dirt Band bandmates have had quite a career of their own since then, introducing folk, bluegrass, and country music—what would later be termed “Americana”—to a whole new generation of fans. Their latest effort, however, is a full-circle return with Dirt Does Dylan, a ten-track album highlighting some of the gems from Dylan’s vast catalog with the help of three new band members: fiddle specialist Ross Holmes; singer-songwriter and bass player Jim Photoglo (who wrote one of the Dirt Band’s biggest hits, “Fishin’ in the Dark”); and Dirt Band founder Jeff Hanna’s son, the absurdly talented singer and guitarist Jaime Hanna. Produced and recorded by Ray Kennedy at Room & Board Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, Dirt Does Dylan finds a generation-spanning Dirt Band paying an appropriately great tribute to arguably the greatest songwriter of the 20th century with the help of friends like Jason IsbellThe War & TreatySteve Earle, and Rosanne Cash, to name a few. 

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band trades on a mix of reimagined classics and compelling newer works. The group formed in 1966 as a Long Beach, California jug band, scored its first charting single in 1967, and embarked on a self-propelled ride through folk, country, rock ‘n’ roll, pop, bluegrass, and the amalgam now known as “Americana.” The first major hit came in 1971 with the epic “Mr. Bojangles,” which, along with insistent support from banjo master Earl Scruggs, opened doors in Nashville. Behind those doors were Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Mother Maybelle Carter, Jimmy Martin, and others who would collaborate on a multi-artist, multi-generational, three-disc 1972 masterpiece: Will the Circle Be UnbrokenCircle went triple Platinum, spawned two later volumes, and wound up in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

 Was this a cutting-edge combo or a group of revivalists? Was the goal rebellion or musical piety? Yes, to all these things. In the 1980s, the Dirt Band reeled off 15 straight Top 10 country hits, including chart-toppers “Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper’s Dream),” “Modern Day Romance,” and “Fishin’ in the Dark (co-written by Jim Photoglo,who would join the band in the second decade of the new century). 1989 brought a second Circle album, this one featuring singer-songwriter talents including John Prine, Rosanne Cash, and John Hiatt and garnering two Grammy awards for the band (it later won another, for a collaboration with Earl Scruggs and other fine folks). Circle II also won the Country Music Association’s Album of the Year prize. Circle III was released in 2003, featuring collaborations with Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, and more.


1. Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You

2. Girl from the North Country

3. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

4. Country Pie

5. I Shall Be Released (ft. Larkin Poe)

6. She Belongs to Me

7. Forever Young

8. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (ft. Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbell, Steve Earle, and The War and Treaty)

9. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

10. Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Catch Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on tour:

May 20 – Papillion, NE – Sumtur Amphitheater

May 21 – Chesterfield, MO – Chesterfield Amphitheatre

May 22 – Louisville, KY – Iroquois Amphitheater

June 9 – Eureka Springs, AR – Eureka Springs City Auditorium

June 10 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater

June 11 – Salina, KS – Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts

June 24 – Grand Junction, CO – Country Jam 2022

June 25 – North Platte, NE – Nebraskaland Days

July 14 – Davenport, IA – Rhythm City Casino Resort

July 15 – Decorah, IA – Winneshiek County Fair

July 16 – Chicago, IL – City Winery

July 21 – Marietta, OH – Peoples Bank Theatre

July 22 – Shipshewana, IN – Blue Gate Performing Arts Center

July 23 – Twin Lakes, WI – Country Thunder Wisconsin 2022

Aug. 3 – McMinnville, OR – Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo

Aug. 4 – Boise, ID – The Egyptian Theatre

Aug. 6 – Bellvue, CO – Mishawaka Amphitheatre

Aug. 12 – Hinckley, MN – Grand Country Nights 2022

Aug. 13 – South West Fargo, ND – Lights Amphitheater

Aug. 18 – Three Forks, MT – Headwaters Country Jam 2022

Aug. 19 – Rexford, MT – Abayance Bay Marina

Aug. 27 – Gilbert, AZ – Higley Center For The Performing Arts

Aug. 28 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre

Sept. 2 – Orange Park, FL – Thrasher-Horne Center

Sept. 3 – Mill Spring, NC – The Earl Scruggs Music Festival 2022

Sept. 17 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

Nov. 4 – Clearwater, FL – Bilheimer Capitol Theatre

For more information on Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Dirt Does Dylan, please visit