From camping it up with The Teddybear's Picnic to becoming heritage music curators on a par with the Smithsonian is quite a leap, but the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band made it. The earliest line-up, in 1965, included Jackson Browne, who bailed for a solo career before the first album. Chris Darrow passed in and out before Uncle Charlie, which was when perseverance (and talent) started to pay off.
It's impossible to overstate these guys' importance, which is strangely counterbalanced by their relative lack of fame.
They'd passed through the core American music genres; jugband, bluegrass, folk, pop, country, blues, rock n' roll, before curating (and for once, the word is used correctly) the epochal Will The Circle Remain Unbroken; that rare thing, a precious historical document that's also a lot of fun. It was a project that was only possible because the NGDB approached Nashville with respect and humility - qualities that have a bearing on their low showbiz presence.
Since then, a little bland AOR, and a slight return to the roots they never left, but here's their early œuvre [French - egg - Ed.], sounding fresh and timeless and fun and beautiful all at the same time.
Oh - and beautiful album artwork, too.