The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed around 1966, and current band members Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, and Bob Carpenter are still celebrating their golden anniversary. In September 2015, they played to a sold-out crowd at historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to film a 50th anniversary special that began airing in March 2016 on PBS. The TV special earned a 2016 Emmy for Special Event Coverage at the Mid-South Regional Emmy Awards.
The influential band often has been cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music. With multi-platinum and gold records, strings of Top 10 hits such as “Fishin’ in the Dark” and “Mr. Bojangles,” multiple Grammy, International Bluegrass Music Association, and Country Music Association awards and nominations, the band continues to accumulate accolades. The band’s groundbreaking 1972 “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” album has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame, and “Mr. Bojangles” also was inducted in 2010 into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2014, “Fishin’ in the Dark” was certified platinum for digital downloads by the Recording Industry Association of America, the release states.