It was 30 years ago when a young band of longhaired musicians from the West Coast teamed with some of country music’s legendary veterans to record “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” a landmark project that crossed boundaries and blended generations. That famed circle expands yet again with the Oct. 1 release of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. III” on Capitol Records.
Just as they did three decades ago, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (NGDB) pulled together a gifted group of artists to collaborate on some roots music treasures. The 28-song project features such “Circle” alumni as Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and Doc Watson alongside younger artists like Alison Krauss and Dwight Yoakam. Other special guests include such bluegrass stalwarts as the Del McCoury Band, bluesman Taj Mahal, Americana chanteuse Iris DeMent, and rock veteran Tom Petty.
The album was co-produced by the NGDB and Randy Scruggs, who has a long history with the “Circle” albums: He was a teen when he performed on the first collection and won Country Music Association and Grammy Award accolades for sharing in the production of the 1989 release “Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume Two.”
“We had a mark to come up to this time,” John McEuen says, acknowledging that he and fellow NGDB members Jeff Hanna, Jimmy Ibbotson, Bob Carpenter, and Jimmie Fadden were mindful of continuing the tradition of musical integrity associated with the two previous “Circle” albums. (Earlier this year, Capitol released a members section.
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