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Doyle Lawson (born April 20, 1944) is an American traditional bluegrass and Southern gospel musician.[1] He is best known as an accomplished mandolin player, vocalist, producer, and leader of the 6-man group Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.[2] Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Doyle Lawson
Doyle Lawson and his band.jpg
Doyle Lawson (left) and his band harmonize during the 2006 NEA National Heritage Fellows concert.
Background information
Born (1944-04-20) April 20, 1944 (age 75)
Sullivan County, Tennessee, U.S.
GenresBluegrass, gospel
Years active1963–present


Early lifeEdit

Doyle Lawson was born in Fordtown, Sullivan County, Tennessee,[3] the son of Leonard and Minnie Lawson. The Lawson family moved to Sneedville in 1954.[4] Lawson grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights. This is where he heard mandolinist Bill Monroe, the "founding father" of bluegrass, and his band the Blue Grass Boys.

Lawson became interested in playing the mandolin around the age of eleven so his father borrowed a mandolin from Willis Byrd, a family friend and fellow musician. Doyle taught himself how to play the mandolin by listening to the radio and records, and watching an occasional TV show.[1] Later Lawson learned to play the guitar and banjo as well.[3]


Early careerEdit

In 1963, aged 18 or 19, Lawson went to Nashville to play the banjo with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys.[5]

In 1966, he started playing with J.D. Crowe and the Kentucky Mountain Boys (later called the New South) in Lexington, Kentucky. He returned to play the mandolin and sing tenor with Martin in 1969 for six months, and then played again with Crowe until August 1971.[4][6]

In September, 1971, Lawson started playing with The Country Gentlemen and remained part of the band for almost eight years. During that time, in 1977, he backed up U.S. Senator Robert Byrd on his Mountain Fiddler album. In March 1979 when Lawson left the Country Gentlemen with the intention of forming a band and creating his own sound.[4][3]

Doyle Lawson & QuicksilverEdit

Within a month Lawson had formed Doyle Lawson and Foxfire, with Jimmy Haley on guitar, Lou Reid on bass, and Terry Baucom on banjo.[3] The band name was soon changed to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.[7][8] In 1981, through Sugar Hill Records, Lawson with this lineup released the critically acclaimed Rock My Soul, an album that would become a landmark bluegrass gospel project. [5][9][10] With a new bassist, Randy Graham, the band recorded a second gospel album, Heavenly Treasures, also on Sugar Hill.[3][7]

Shortly thereafter, Graham, Baucom and Haley left to form their own band. Lawson hired guitarist Russell Moore, banjoist Scott Vestal and bassist Curtis Vestal, and continued to perform. After a time Ray Deaton took over on bass.[3]

In 1989 the band won song of the year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards for "Little Mountain Church House". In 1997, "There's a Light Guiding Me" was a 39th Annual Grammy Award nominee for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album.[11] Through the years, Quicksilver toured regularly, performing at festivals concerts and other musical events.[12]

In 1998, Lawson and Quicksilver became the first bluegrass band to perform at the National Quartet Convention. Lawson and Quicksilver performed in Ontario, Canada at the Tottenham Bluegrass Festival in June 2001[13] and again in June 2015. Lawson and Quicksilver provided the background vocals to the song "Dazzling Blue" on Paul Simon's 2011 album "So Beautiful or So What". In 2015, "In Session" was nominated for Best Bluegrass Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.[citation needed]

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on stage at the 2015 Tottenham Bluegrass Festival in Ontario, Canada

Lawson composed a number of the band's songs and tunes. His instrumental piece, "Rosine," is a tribute to Monroe's birthplace and features, among other things, strains from the singer's 1967 instrumental "Kentucky Mandolin".[14] Lawson hosts the annual Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver Festival in Denton, North Carolina.

Personal lifeEdit

Doyle has been married to Suzanne Lawson since 1978. He has one son, two daughters and a grandchild. Doyle rededicated his life to Christianity in May 1985 and is a practicing member of Cold Spring Presbyterian Church.[citation needed]

Band membersEdit


  • Doyle Lawson-mandolin, vocal
  • Jimmy Haley-guitar, vocal
  • Lou Reid-bass, vocal
  • Terry Baucom-banjo, vocal


  • Doyle Lawson-mandolin, vocal
  • Josh Swift-dobro, vocal
  • Joe Dean-banjo
  • Stephen Burwell-fiddle
  • Jake Vanover-guitar, vocal
  • Jerry Cole-bass, vocal

Other past members

  • Randy Graham-bass, vocal (1982-1985)
  • Russell Moore-guitar, vocal (1985-1991)
  • Scott Vestal-banjo, vocal (1985-1988)
  • Curtis Vestal-bass, vocal (1985-1986)
  • Ray Deaton-bass, vocal (1986-1991)
  • Jim Mills-banjo, vocal (1988-1992)
  • Mike Hartgrove-fiddle (1989-1991, 2005-2007)
  • John Bowman-guitar, vocal (1991-1993)
  • Shelton Feazell-bass, vocal (1991-1993)
  • Shawn Lane-fiddle, guitar, vocal (1992-1994)
  • Brad Campbell-banjo, vocal (1992-1994)
  • Jimmy Stewart-dobro, fiddle (1993-1994)
  • John Berry-bass, vocal (1993-1994)
  • Barry Abernathy-banjo, vocal (1994-1998)
  • Dale Perry-bass, banjo, vocal (1994-2003, 2010-2011)
  • Steve Gulley-guitar, vocal (1994-1996)
  • Owen Saunders-fiddle (1994-1997)
  • Barry Scott-guitar, bass, vocal (1996-2005)
  • Jim VanCleve-fiddle (1997-1998)
  • Doug Bartlett-fiddle, vocal (1998-2000)
  • Jamie Dailey-bass, guitar, vocal (1998-2007)
  • Hunter Berry-fiddle (2001-2002)
  • Jesse Stockman-fiddle (2002-2005)
  • Jess Barry-fiddle (2003-2004)
  • Darren Beachley-bass, guitar, vocal (2006-2009)
  • Alan Johnson-fiddle, vocal (2007-2008)
  • Joey Cox-banjo (2007-2009)
  • Carl White-bass, drums, vocal (2007-2009, 2011-2012)
  • Brandon Godman-fiddle (2008-2009)
  • Jason Barie-fiddle (2009-2014)
  • Corey Hensley-guitar, bass, vocal (2009-2013)
  • Jason Leek-bass, vocal (2010)
  • Mike Rogers-guitar, vocal (2010-2013)
  • Jessie Baker-banjo (2011-2012)
  • Dustin Pyrtle-guitar, vocal (2013-2018)
  • Eli Johnston-bass, vocal (2013-2018)


Studio albumsEdit

Year Album US Bluegrass Label
1977 Tennessee Dream County
1979 Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Sugar Hill
1981 Heavenly Treasures
Quicksilver Rides Again
Rock My Soul
1985 Once and for Always
1986 Beyond the Shadows
1987 The News Is Out
1988 Heaven's Joy Awaits
Hymn Time in the Country
I'll Wander Back Someday
1989 I Heard the Angels Singing
1990 My Heart Is Yours[6]
1991 Merry Christmas from Our House to Your House
1992 Pressing on Regardless Brentwood
Treasures Money Can't Buy
1995 Doyle Lawson with Bobby Hicks & Jerry Douglas Koch
Never Walk Away Sugar Hill
1996 There's a Light Guiding Me
1997 Kept & Protected
1998 Gospel Radio Gems
1999 Original Band
Winding Through Life
2000 Just Over in Heaven
2001 Gospel Parade
2002 The Hard Game of Love
1994 Hallelujah in My Heart Music Mill
Thank God Crossroads
2005 You Gotta Dig a Little Deeper[15] 4 Rounder
2006 He Lives in Me 4 Crossroads
2007 More Behind the Picture Than the Wall 2 Rounder
2008 Help Is On the Way 4 Horizon
2009 Lonely Street Rounder
2010 Light On My Feet, Ready to Fly 11 Horizon
2011 Drive Time 15 Crossroads
2012 Sing Me a Song About Jesus 9
2013 Roads Well Traveled 14 Mountain Home
2014 Open Carefully, Message Inside[16] 10
2015 In Session[17] 8
2016 Burden Bearer 4
2017 Life is a Story Mountain Home

Compilation albumsEdit

Year Album US Bluegrass Label
1990 The Gospel Collection 1 Sugar Hill
1999 A School of Bluegrass 9 Crossroads
Once and for Always/The News Is Out Sugar Hill
2007 Best of the Sugar Hill Years


Lawson is a recipient of a 2006 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States' highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.[18]

International Bluegrass Music AssociationEdit

  • 1990 Song of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "Little Mountain Church"[6]
  • 1996 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "There's a Light Guiding Me"[6]
  • 2000 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "Winding Through Life"
  • 2001 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2002 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2003 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2003 Song of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "Blue Train"
  • 2003 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "Hand Made Cross"
  • 2004 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2005 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2005 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "Praise His Name"
  • 2006 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2006 Album of the Year: Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, featuring various bluegrass bands and musicians
  • 2006 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "He Lives in Me"
  • 2007 Vocal Group of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
  • 2007 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver for "He Lives in Me"
  • 2011 Recorded Event of the Year: Doyle Lawson, J. D. Crowe, Paul Williams for "Prayer Bells of Heaven"
  • 2011 Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year: Doyle Lawson, J. D. Crowe, Paul Williams for "Prayer Bells of Heaven"
  • 2012 Hall of Fame: Doyle Lawson [17][19]


  1. ^ a b Appalachian Journal. 1980. p. 331-332.
  2. ^ Loyal Jones (8 October 2008). Country Music Humorists and Comedians. University of Illinois Press. pp. 238–. ISBN 978-0-252-03369-8.
  3. ^ a b c d e f W. K. McNeil (18 October 2013). Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music. Routledge. pp. 226–. ISBN 978-1-135-37700-7.
  4. ^ a b c Stephanie P. Ledgin (2004). Homegrown Music: Discovering Bluegrass. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-275-98115-0.
  5. ^ a b Kurt Wolff; Orla Duane (2000). Country Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. pp. 228–. ISBN 978-1-85828-534-4.
  6. ^ a b c d Contemporary Musicians. Gale Research, Incorporated. 2006. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-0-7876-8068-8.
  7. ^ a b Thomas Goldsmith (2004). The Bluegrass Reader. University of Illinois Press. pp. 248–. ISBN 978-0-252-02914-1.
  8. ^ "No one since the late great Bill Monroe melds bluegrass with gospel music quite like the former Country Gentlemen member Doyle Lawson…" Memphis Commercial Appeal (what date?).
  9. ^ Neil V. Rosenberg (2005). Bluegrass: A History. University of Illinois Press. pp. 376–. ISBN 978-0-252-07245-1.
  10. ^ Option. Sonic Options Network. 1987. p. 64.
  11. ^ "The Complete List of Nominees". Los Angeles Times. 1997-01-08. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
  12. ^ No Depression. No Depression. 2004. pp. 22, issues 49–54.
  13. ^ Strings, newsletter of the Pineridge Bluegrass Folklore Society, May/June 2001
  14. ^ Profile Archived December 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed October 30, 2015.
  15. ^ Billboard Picks. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 16 April 2005. pp. 44–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  16. ^ "Open Carefully. Message Inside. from Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver". Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News Network, 07/09/2014
  17. ^ a b "Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver In Session". Pop Matters, Jonathan Frahm 20 February 2015.
  18. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships 2006". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  19. ^ Profile,; accessed August 16, 2016.

External linksEdit