VPAC Scoop column: Lonestar and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band coming to Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

VPAC Scoop column: Lonestar and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band coming to Beaver Creek

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band takes the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Friday, July 1. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $85.
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What’s in a name?

Well, when your name is Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or Lonestar, there is a lot to your name. In these two bands alone, which will perform at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Friday and Tuesday, July 5, respectively, there’s a combined history of 71 years of touring, five Academy of Country Music Awards, two Grammy Awards and a roster of more than 24 past and present band members.

About Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The two bands also had some trouble settling on names. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was founded around 1966 in Long Beach, California, by singer-guitarist Jeff Hanna (who, along with Jimmie Fadden, has performed with the band throughout its entire career). Ten years later, in 1976, the quartet was billed as just The Dirt Band. For an even shorter stint, you could see the guys taking on another name. On April 22, 1978, members of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and, during one segment, donned Egyptian garb to perform as The Toot Uncommons with Steve Martin in his widely celebrated song “King Tut.”

Lonestar, on the other hand, began in 1992 under the name Texassee, derived from the fact that all five members were natives of Texas and met in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Opryland USA theme park. After less than a year, Texassee made the choice to change its name to Lonestar (a good choice in my book) and played their first concert under this name in Nashville before signing to BNA Records in 1995.

Crazy band names aside, we are truly excited to bring two of America’s greatest country music icons to the Vilar for the Independence Day weekend. Nitty Gritty Dirt band has been a mainstay in country music for decades and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. They are often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music.

Lonestar comes to us as a much younger, but no less prestigious, band in the history of country music. Since their inception in the mid-’90s, the one thing that has kept Lonestar going is “that we’re just four good-old boys from Texas,” said lead singer Richie McDonald. “No matter how much success we’ve had, it didn’t change us as people.”

Both of these bands, regardless of the names you give them, count their biggest accomplishments in their storied careers as witnessing the impact of their songs on the lives of others. “Music is a very powerful tool and can help people going through both good and bad times,” McDonald said. In light of recent tragedies in America, sometimes what you need is a good tune with good friends to pull you up by your bootstraps.

Alexia Jurschak is chairperson of the Vilar Performing Arts Center Committee. Learn more about these and other shows at the Vilar Performing Arts Center at vilarpac.org.

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