Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Alumnus Chris Darrow Dead at 75
Chris Darrow, a former member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, has died. The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was 75 years old, though further details about his death are unknown.
Christoper Lloyd Darrow was born on July 30, 1944, in Sioux Falls, S.D., but spent his childhood in Claremont, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb. He started out as a ukulele player before learning the guitar at age 14; in 1963, he formed his first band, the Reorganized Dry City Players.
While in graduate school in Claremont, Darrow met Chris Hillman, a future member of the rock band the Byrds. In the mid-'60s, Darrow played in various bluegrass, rock and psychedelic bands, then joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1967, as a replacement for founding member Bruce Kunkel.
While with NGDB, Darrow played on two of the band's albums, 1968's Rare Junk and 1970's Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy. He also appeared in the 1960 Western movie musical Paint Your Wagon, starring Clint Eastwood. Jimmy Ibbotson replaced Darrow in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band following a short hiatus by the band.
Following his time with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Darrow and NGDB member Jeff Hanna formed the Corvettes. The band served as Linda Ronstadt's touring band for a time.
Darrow also worked as a solo artist at various points throughout his career, releasing albums in the 1970s and early '80s, and then again in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. As a session musician, Darrow played bass on Leonard Cohen's Songs of Leonard Cohen and fiddle and violin on James Taylor's Sweet Baby James, among other recordings.
"The number of musicians he supported, inspired and helped launch made him a godfather of California’s country rock of the late '60s," shared Everloving Records in a statement (quote via Saving Country Music). The label had worked with Darrow on a re-issue of his 1973 solo record.
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