As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will hit the road in North America throughout the year. Among the plans are a string of Canadian dates opening for Willie Nelson.

As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band will hit the road in North America throughout the year. Among the plans are a string of Canadian dates opening for Willie Nelson.

The tour with Nelson opens April 27 in London, Ontario, and stretches through a May 14-15 stand in St. John's, Newfoundland. The group will reunite with Nelson for a May 26 show in Uncasville, Conn., and again Sept. 3 in Morrison, Col., for a concert at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

The summer will find the Dirt Band playing a slate of fairs and festivals including Country Music Festival USA (June 17), North Carolina's Appalachian Summer Fest (July 15) and the Central Wisconsin State Fair (Aug. 30). More dates are expected.

NGDB currently features founding members Jeff Hanna (guitars, vocals), Jimmie Fadden (drums, harmonica, vocals) and John McEuen (banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin) and as well as "newcomer" Bob Carpenter (keyboards, accordion, vocals), who has been in the band for 26 years. The group has released more than 30 albums, including three all-star volumes under the "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" banner.

Earlier this year, Hanna won a best country song Grammy award for co-writing the Rascal Flatts hit "Bless the Broken Road."

Here are the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's tour dates:

April 27: London, Ontario (John Labatt Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
April 28: Ottawa (Civic Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
April 29: Peterborough, Ontario (Memorial Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
April 30: Hamilton, Ontario (Copps Coliseum Arena; w/Willie Nelson)
May 2: Toronto (Air Canada Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
May 3: Montreal (Bell Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
May 5: Fredericton, New Brunswick (Aitken University Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
May 6: Moncton, New Brunswick (Moncton Coliseum; w/Willie Nelson)
May 7: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Island Civic Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
May 9: Saint John, New Brunswick (Harbour Stadium Civic Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
May 10: Halifax, Nova Scotia (Metro Centre; w/Willie Nelson)
May 11: Sydney, Nova Scotia (Centre 200 Arena; w/Willie Nelson)
May 13: Cornerbrook, Newfoundland (Arts and Cultural Center; w/Willie Nelson)
May 14-15: St. John's, Newfoundland (Mile One Stadium; w/Willie Nelson)
May 19-20: Jackpot, Nev. (Cactus Peteís)
May 26: Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun Casino; w/Willie Nelson)
June 17: Sauk Centre, Minn. (Country Music Festival USA)
June 18: Deadwood, S.D. (Downtown Deadwood)
July 1: Springfield, Mo. (Springfield-Branson Airport)
July 15: Boone, N.C. (Appalachian Summer Fest)
July 25: Dayton, Wyo. (Scott Centennial Park)
July 26: Lewistown, Mon. (Central Montana Fair)
July 27: Medicine Hat, Alberta (Medicine Hat Stampede)
July 29: Caldwell, Idaho (Canyon County Fair)
July 31: Layton, Utah (Kenley Centennial Amphitheatre)
Aug. 3: Redmond, Ore. (Deschutes County Fair)
Aug. 4: Colusa, Calif. (Colusa Indian Bingo & Casino)
Aug. 30: Marshfield, Wis. (Central Wisconsin State Fair)
Sept. 1: Bayfield, Wis. (Big Top Chautauqua)
Sept. 3: Morrison, Col. (Red Rocks Amphitheatre; w/Willie Nelson)
Oct. 7: Fort Yates, N.D. (Prairie Knights Casino)

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