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It goes without saying that any band that has been around for 50 years has not only had its share of triumphs, but also its share of challenges.


The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band finds themselves in the middle of one of those challenges right now.

The Grammy-winning band’s co-founder, John McEuen, recently declared in a statement reported by various media outlets that he would be leaving the group immediately.

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“In assessing the situation surrounding our performances, business disagreements and ongoing difference of opinions, the timing is appropriate for my departure,” he explained in the statement. “As a catalyst to my decision, in December 2015, I received confirmation from Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Inc. that I was an ‘employee’ — no longer a member of the corporation that I helped to build.”

John, pictured above on the right, co-founded the band in 1966, departed the group in 1986 and returned in 2001.

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It’s a sad chapter in an amazing story of success and resilience for a band that spree to fame with hit singles such as “Mr. Bojangles,” “Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper’s Dream),” “Modern Day Romance” and “Fishin’ In the Dark.”

“It has been a great privilege to work alongside the others; together, we made history,” John’s statement goes on to say. “After 50 years, the time has come for me to bid adieu to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band stage. I will move forward with great pride in my personal and musical contributions to NGDB, and now can fully concentrate on my independent endeavors. I have much to do and many more creative ideas to pursue. Because of this relationship, I have more stories than you can shake a pick at. That will come later!”

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band co-founder quits, citing “ongoing differences of opinion” Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Country Music Hall Of Fame & Museum
Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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