Sofer'dBy Chuck Cox

Special Contributor

On behalf of SOFERD.COM

Well, it looks like I have another show headed for the “Best of 2015” list at the end of the year.

I finally got to see theĀ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which I have been listening to practically since birth, live on Wednesday night at the Granada. And, man, those guys are still one amazing live act.

For almost two hours, the Long Beach, California, quartet showed off its immense musical chops by playing pretty much a perfect set, consisting of the band’s huge songs, like “Dance Little Jean,” its version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” and “Fishin’ in the Dark,” along with some really tremendous covers.


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (Courtesy photo).

Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” The Beatles’ “Get Back” and Jimmy Buffett’s “Coconut Grove” were especially fantastic. Hearing banjo in a Beatles song was pretty sweet.

Another highlight of the show was “Bless the Broken Road,” which the band wrote and Rascal Flatts made a hit.

The most impressive part of the the show was the fact all of the band members (lead singer/guitarist Jeff Hannah, drummer Jimmie Fadden, guitarist John McEuen and keyboardist Bob Carpenter) played multiple instruments and swapped out singing lead vocals throughout the night.

The on-stage banter was also sharp and funny, making for an absolutely incredible night of music. The crowd was small, but some audience members found some space to dance during several songs in the set, which is something you don’t get to see outside of Billy Bob’s much these days.

After the show, the guys all hung out with fans behind the venue, signing CDs, albums, and even an 8-track, and taking photos. They were all really cool, down-to-earth people. So awesome.

The show was made even better with an opening act that was worthy of playing in front of the headliners. Bri Bagwell, who hails from Las Cruces, N.M., but has lived in Texas for about 10 years, more than held her own to start things off.

She, too, mixed in some of her originals with a few covers, like Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Even Seen the Rain,” and Vince Gill’s “Tryin’ to Get Over You.”

Bri Bagwell

Bri Bagwell. (Courtesy photo).

The amazing thing was her original songs, which I was hearing for the first time, all stood out. Her voice, mixed with some really strong lyrics, was also fantastic, as she played a 41-minute set.

I really thought “Banned in Santa Fe,” “My Fisherman,” “Apartment,” “My Boots” and “Crazy” were great songs more country music fans need to hear. Clearly, the “New Texican” has become a Texas artist, in terms of song quality.

Next, I’m headed to Los Angeles for Cathouse Live on Saturday. I’m sure glad I don’t have to wake up early on Sunday.