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Rodney Dillard: A Brief Biography

Rodney Dillard, acclaimed Missourian guitar and dobro player, fell in love with Bluegrass on his family’s farm. Music was all he knew. He and his brother Doug (banjo), friend Dean (mandolin), and friend Mitch (bass) started playing together in the late 50’s as “The Dillards.” They went to Hollywood, and within two weeks, landed a recording contract–something surprising to a part of the country that wasn’t familiar with Bluegrass yet. Though they had already produced several albums, they became very well known after their portrayal of the musical Darling Family on The Andy Griffith Show. This was huge for the Dillards, and for Bluegrass, since many Americans had never heard or been introduced to the genre. And in a time when television was new and exciting to everyone, and the easiest way to spread ideas, Bluegrass became much more popular.

The Dillards still play today, though only Rodney of the original band members remains. He is very proud of his Missouri farm heritage, and he has returned to live there. The following clip shows a little bit of Rodney’s current life.

And here is a clip of the Dillards as the Darlings, on Griffith:

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