Tennessee native, Doyle Lawson, was born on April 20th in 1944 to parents: Leonard and Minnie Lawson. He grew up in a place called Ford Town with his two brothers and sister listening to the Grand Ole Opry radio. This radio show allowed him to become exposed to a major influence in his life: Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys. “[Monroe’s] music was different, more intense. High lonesome is the term we used for it. I could hardly wait for Saturday nights to arrive so I could listen. I decided early on that I wanted to play that kind of music.” Said Lawson. The Lawson family sang gospel music together which inspired Doyle’s interest in singing in groups. This is shown by the fact that he has a band backing him up throughout his performances. His group is called “Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver”.
Doyle Lawson first learned to play the mandolin, by listening to others play via radio shows and records, however he soon realized that he could increase his musical diversity by learning to play other instruments. This would help him become a more flexible and interesting artist in the bluegrass community. He learned to play the guitar and the banjo on top of his already impressive mandolin skills and singing abilities.
In 1963, Lawson got his first legitimate gig as a banjo and guitar player with Jimmy Martin. He also worked with other artists including JD Crowe and the Country Gentleman band in 1971. Lawson gained a lot of band experience (over 10 years’ worth!) by 1979. It was around this time that Doyle Lawson decided he needed to break away from these bands that had already procured their style and sound in order to create his own. He then formed a band by the name of “Doyle Lawson and Foxfire” which had to be changed to “Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver” after realizing the foxfire name had been taken.
Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver have taken traditional bluegrass music and combined it with gospel music into a quartet-like sound to create an original sounding band in the bluegrass community. The band also incorporates traditional bluegrass instruments with the sound of an electric bass which separates them from most of the other bands associated with this genre.
Although Gospel music and religious lyrics are a big part of Doyle Lawson’s musical style, the band released several secular records before releasing a gospel album, Heavenly Treasures. He then continued to incorporate the gospel lyrics with a bluegrass sound throughout his career, even including an acapella gospel album.
The above video is a music video created by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver called “Country Store”.