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ART | bluegrass concert

MUSIC MAN
Bluegrass/gospel legend Doyle Lawson brings his band
Quicksilver to Hattiesburg

O TEXT BY ROBYN JACKSON


One of the legends of bluegrass
music is performing at Hattiesburg’s
Saenger Theater on Feb. 20, but Doyle
Lawson remains a humble Tennessee
boy at heart, despite all the Grammy
nominations and critical acclaim for
him and his band,
Quicksilver.
“We’re looking forward
to coming to the Saenger
Theater. I’ve got friends
that always come to see
me when I play in the
years later, with his eyes set on a
musical career, he learned to play
banjo and guitar, too.
He got a job playing banjo with
Jimmy Martin when he was 18, in
1963. After playing in a few other
Quicksilver sound that fans expect.
“It’s the real deal,” Lawson said of
his bluegrass/gospel fusion. “We do
a lot of a capella and you really have
nothing to hide behind there.”
Bluegrass musicians don’t usually
earn the fame and fortune of
their country music cousins,
and Lawson said those who
choose a career in bluegrass do
it for the love of the genre,
although it has become more
popular over the last couple of
Hattiesburg area,” decades.
Lawson said during a tele- “There’s a lot of purity in it,”
phone interview while Lawson said. “You’re laying
taking a break from out your emotions on your
recording his new CD, sleeve and hope people accept
which should be out this it.”
spring. Lawson estimates Lawson doesn’t have to
it’s his 35th or 36th album. bluegrass bands, he started his own, worry much about that. His band’s
Lawson grew up listening to the the Country Gentlemen, in 1971. He 2002 album, “The Hard Game of
Grand Ole Opry on the radio, but no wanted to put together his own Love,” was nominated for a Grammy,
performers impressed him more than sound instead of just playing some- and Quicksilver has won multiple
the father of bluegrass music, Bill one else’s. In 1979, he formed Doyle awards from the International
Monroe, and his Blue Grass Boys. Lawson & Foxfire, which soon was Bluegrass Music Association, begin-
“His music was different, more renamed Quicksilver. His goal with ning with song of the year honors in
intense,” Lawson said. “High lone- this band was to blend bluegrass and 1990 - the first year of the IBMA
some is the term we used for it. I gospel, acoustic music and four-part awards - for “Little Mountain
could hardly wait for Saturday nights harmony, like his father used to sing. Church,” and in 2003 for “Blue Train
to arrive so I could listen. I decided The band’s lineup has changed (of the Heartbreak Line).”
early on that I wanted to play that many times over the past 31 years, Lawson, who plays more than 60
kind of music.” and Lawson jokingly refers to it as concerts and bluegrass festivals a
Lawson’s father, mother and sister “the farm team” for bluegrass. year, said he has no plans to give up
sang in gospel groups and when he Alumni have gone on to play for the road.
was 11 or 12, he expressed an interest Ricky Skaggs’ band Kentucky “As long as my health stays good,
in learning to play the mandolin. His Thunder, IIIrd Tyme Out and my hands are good, and my voice
father borrowed one from a musician Continental Divide, to name a few of holds up, I won’t retire.”
friend, and Lawson taught himself to the top bluegrass bands. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will
play by listening to the radio and Lawson said he tries to integrate perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the
records, and watching musicians on each new member’s unique talents Saenger Theater in downtown
television occasionally. A couple of into the band, while retaining the Hattiesburg. Tickets are $18-$23.

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