There was a time when the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and other West Coast country-rockers were viewed with suspicion by some members of the Nashville establishment, but times change -- and these days, country radio play lists are full of artists whose work has been greatly influenced by the country-rock that came out of Southern California in the '60s and '70s. So as it turns out, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Linda Ronstadt, and the Eagles (who the Dirt Band greatly influenced) were ahead of their time. But while much of the country-rock that's coming out of Nashville in the 21st century is extremely contrived and formulaic, the Dirt Band hasn't lost any of its organic, earthy charm -- charm that is alive and well on Welcome to Woody Creek, which finds the durable outfit celebrating its 39th anniversary with a lineup consisting of Jeff Hanna, Jimmy Ibbotson, Bob Carpenter, Jimmie Fadden, and John McEuen. After all these years, the Dirt Band still sounds current; Welcome to Woody Creek isn't radically different from a lot of the country-rock that country stations played in '90s and 2000s. The differences between this 2004 release and all the Eagles-minded, Ronstadt-obsessed artists on modern country radio have to do with execution and delivery more than anything; Welcome to Woody Creek has a certain warmth and sincerity that many of Nashville's slick nu-country artists are missing. This CD doesn't sound like the product of 500 marketing meetings but rather like the work of five country-rock veterans who keep performing because they genuinely enjoy what they do. Welcome to Woody Creek isn't as essential as the Dirt Band's best '60s and '70s recordings; nonetheless, it's a solid, respectable outing that will please die-hard fans of the veteran country-rockers.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson