July 3, 2013

Acclaimed Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to play Waterville Opera House Oct. 3

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE  — Tickets went on sale this week for a concert in October by multiple-Grammy Award Winning Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

click image to enlarge

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will be playing the Waterville Opera House on Oct. 3. From left to right are: John McEuen, Jeff Hanna, Jimmy Fadden and Bob Carpenter.

Contributed photo

The band will perform at the Waterville Opera House 8 p.m. Oct. 3.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is known as “the iconic and profoundly influential catalyst” for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music, according to the band’s web site.

Contacted by phone in southern California on Wednesday, keyboard player and vocalist Bob Carpenter said the group performed at Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownville last year and loved the state of Maine. He said it will especially be nice to play here in the fall.

“Through the 47 years that the band has toured, we’ve been up to Maine quite a few times; but we’ve been everywhere quite a few times,” Carpenter said. “It’s a beautiful place to be.”

The group formed as a jug band in southern California in 1966 and soon adopted the emerging folk rock style of performance. Carpenter, 66, joined the band in 1979. He said all of the band members are over 65.

The band produced multi-platinum and gold records, as well as a string of top-ten hits such as “Fishin’ in the Dark” and their 1970 cover version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles”.

Their 1972 album, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” was inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame, according to promotional material. The album is a collaboration from many famous Bluegrass and country-western players, including Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and others. It also introduced fiddler Vassar Clements to a wider audience.

Mr. Bojangles” was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band members Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Carpenter and John McEuen are touring in support of their popular “Speed of Life” album.

Carpenter said the band will perform songs from “Speed of Light” and from other albums released over the years.

“We’ll be playing songs from every decade — we’ll be doing songs from all three of the “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” albums,” he said. “We’ll do a little Bluegrass; we’ll do some of the country hits. We’ll try to do a whole varied thing of everything we’ve touched on in our careers.”

Dick Dyer, Waterville Opera House director of marketing and development, said he was hired in May to expand the performance slate to include more live music.

“After the renovations, the board and everybody decided it would be important to add a marketing and development position to the staff,” Dyer said. “I’ve been in the process of looking at all sorts of musical acts that we could bring to the Opera House that would be a perfect fit.”

The Opera House seats 810 people.

“The fact that they were touring through the area and were available here in the Northeast and the fact that they are a legendary band of Grammy Award winning artists and their songs appeal to a very diverse range of people all play into getting them here in Waterville,” Dyer said. “Songs like ‘Mr. Bojangles’ everybody remembers. They’re still performing; they’re still cutting new albums and perfecting their craft as they continue to perform around the world.”

Tickets range from $40 to $50 and are available by visiting www.operahouse.org or calling (207) 873-7000.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
dharlow@centralmaine.com

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367
dharlow@centralmaine.com

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