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NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND PLANS PALMDALE CONCERT.

Byline: Jim Skeen Daily News Staff Writer

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed 30 years ago so its members could avoid finding real jobs, according to one of them.

The Nashville-based band is still having fun, playing its mix of country-rock, bluegrass and folk music. The band, known for its hit single ``Mr. Bojangles'' and its influential ``Will the Circle be Unbroken'' albums, will cap Palmdale's Starlight Concert Series with a performance Aug. 17.

``When we all started we were 18 years old. We just did it because it was fun and we wanted to avoid real work,'' band member Jeff Hanna said. ``First we played mainly for pizza and beer, and then we got a record contract. Now we can get all the pizza and beer we want.''

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will play at 8 p.m. Aug. 17 at Marie Kerr Park, 39700 30th St. W. Admission is free.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is playing Palmdale as part of a tour of the West Coast.

``We started in Long Beach in 1966,'' Hanna said. ``We dig playing on the West Coast.''

Hanna plays guitar. Jimmie Fadden plays drums and harmonica. Jimmy Ibbotson plays bass, mandolin and guitar. Bob Carpenter plays keyboards and accordion. All four sing.

``We're a team. That's kept the egos down to a dull roar,'' Hanna said of the band's staying power. ``No one has said, `I don't need those guys.' That's what happens to bands. Somebody from outside the group pulls somebody aside and says, `You don't need these guys.' That's what breaks up bands.''

Among the group's highlights are the two ``Will the Circle be Unbroken'' albums.

The first was recorded in 1970 and featured such Nashville stalwarts as Roy Acuff, Maybelle Carter, Junior Huskey and Doc Watson. The album earned two Grammy Award nominations.

In 1990, the band recorded ``Will the Circle be Unbroken, Vol.II.'' Among those joining the group for the album were Acuff, Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Roger McGuinn, Emmylou Harris and Levon Helm.

The record earned three Grammy Awards and the Country Music Association's Album of the Year Award.

The band probably will tour through November and then head back to a recording studio, Hanna said.

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Photo: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, together for 30 years si nce their teens, will perform in Palmdale on Aug. 17.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 9, 1996
Words:395
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