Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, "Speed of Life"
It's hard to believe that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been around for five decades. Formed as a California folk rock group, NGDB has endured because of an innate sense of what its music is supposed to sound like, no matter who plays in the band. For that reason alone, its newest album, "Speed of Life," fits like a well-worn shoe. There's a simplicity to the music that's refreshing in today's overproduced, oversampled world -and in true George Massenburg fashion, the production is warm and inviting. The Western-feeling "The Resurrection" is a classic workingman NGDB cut, while the track "Jimmy Martin" is a fitting tribute to the King of Bluegrass. "Amazing Love," the set's most aurally saturating song, has hit written all over it. Unfortunately it's been years since NGDB was on radio's radar. Ah, for a simpler time. --Ken Tucker