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The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Welcome to Woody Creek – 2004 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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The Woody Creek referred to in this album's title is the Colorado hometown of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band co-leader Jimmy Ibbotson, which is also where the music was recorded. Such an idyllic setting may well have inspired the warmth and friendliness of this bluegrass-tinged album.

A few notable original songs, such as "Any Love But Our Love," which has a Steve Earle meets The Everly Brothers vibe to it, are included.

"Forever Don't Last" is another winner, where Ibbotson provides a gritty Levon Helm-like vocal, whereas "Midnight at Woody Creek" closes the album on a progressively jazzy bluegrass instrumental note.

The group also covers The Beatles' "Get Back" in an upbeat, banjo-driven bluegrass fashion, which also sports some of Bob Carpenter's fine honky tonk piano work. The mood here is generally lighthearted and upbeat, exemplified by "Party on the Mountain" and "It's A New Day."

But then the thoughtful "Safe Back Home" appears to contain a wartime related lyrical reflection. "Forever Don't Last" is electric guitar driven, and soulful organ also appears on the disc now and again, but acoustic instrumentation - including mandolin, acoustic guitar and harmonica - are the primary elements of this recording's musical foundation, making Woody Creek feel very much like home.