As working bands go, they don't work any harder than the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The band is the quintessential American working band.
And nothing changes on the Dirt Band's latest album (their 20th), which falls right in step with every other album the band's done. It's got some truly great cuts, quite a few average tunes and a handful of clinkers - basic NGDB.The bottom line with this foursome is that whether you like them or not, the Dirt Band is certain to score another top-charting tune or two, play before hundreds of thousands of adoring fans and further establish their niche as one of the best folk-country-rock hybrids ever to come along.
The Dirt Band keeps coming back, album after album, defying the critics and naysayers with an incredible string of captivating songs (there's at least one "great" song per album).
On "Workin' Band," the NGDB strikes hardest with "Working Man," one of the strongest social statements the band has made in years. The frustration of unemployment echoes over and over with power and poignancy.
In a powerful variation on a Woody Guthrie refrain, the Dirt Band harmonizes, "this land is your land, it ain't my land."
Other strong tunes include the mandolin-spiced "Soldier of Love" and the vocal harmonies of "I've Been Looking."
"Workin' Band" will never be termed a classic album. But it's a solid, traditional-sounding NGDB album that's bound to provide plenty of enjoyment. And at least one tune should be among the year's best.