For over 40 years, they have taken the genre to new heights, and now they're celebrating the release of their first studio album in five years, "Speed of Life."
The band, made up of guitarist Jeff Hanna, drummer Jimmie Fadden, multi-instrumentalist John McEuen, and keyboard player Bob Carpenter, stopped by "The Early Show Saturday Edition"'s "Second Cup Cafe" to perform "Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble To Me," and their classic hit, a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bojangles."
Considered one of the longest-running country-rock groups of their time, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been making music for five decades (Hanna and Fadden are the original band members). They've produced more than 20 studio albums and multiple platinum records.
The band formed as a jug band (a band that uses home-made and traditional instruments) in the spring of 1966.
McCabe Guitar Shop in Long Beach, Calif. was where it all began. The guys were brainstorming on how they could make money without working a regular nine-to-five job and realized they had what it took to make it as musicians!
The following year, they released a self-titled debut album, but it was their fifth album, "Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy," that catapulted their career.
Their multi-platinum album, "Will the Circle be Unbroken," a three-LP set that featured country greats Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Roy Acuff, and Mother Maybelle Carter, was brought back to life nearly 30 years after its original release. It had such an impact that it became one of 50 recordings to be honored and preserved by the Library of Congress.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was also internationally recognized and in 1978, they became the first American group selected by the Soviet government to tour the U.S.S.R.
The band has kept up with the pulse of the ever-changing music business by performing alongside a myriad of rock stars, from the Doors to Aerosmith. They even appeared in the Lee Marvin/Clint Eastwood musical, "Paint Your Wagon," and backed Steve Martin on his 1978 hit song, "King Tut."