Black Music Matters Festival

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Speed of Life – 2009 (NGDB)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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Over the course of 42 years and 30 albums, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has covered a lot of stylistic territory. Most of them seem to make a repeat appearance here. Such an eclectic mix of tracks could make for a rambling, disjointed mess, but with the laid back groove of the band and some low-key production choices, the album comes together as pleasantly diverse.

The music kicks off with a great toe-tapper - Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me - and ends with the Cajun-influenced Good To Be Alive. In between, the band pays tribute to Jimmy Martin (Jimmy Martin), recalls Woodstock (Going Up The Country) and covers Matraca Berg (Resurrection). If there's a low point, it's an unnecessary cover of the overused-in-commercials Stuck in the Middle, but even that manages to find a groove when John McEuen's banjo shines through.

Unlike some of NGDB's history making albums, "Speed of Life" isn't breaking much new ground, but it sounds like an album the boys in the band had a lot of fun making, and that fun translates well to the listening.