Doug Dillard passes

Another bluegrass legend is gone. Doug Dillard, 75, died Wednesday night after being rushed to a hospital in Nashville.

Doug co-founded The Dillard’s, whose first fame came on The Andy Griffith Show, where the band performed as The Darlings. Those TV appearances helped bluegrass music reach mass audiences at a time when folk music was gaining in influence, giving bluegrass a foothold that allowed it to withstand the rock ‘n’ roll invasion.

But Doug’s banjo work was known far beyond his bluegrass band. He played and recorded with many country music greats in the 1960s and beyond. And a stint with the folk-rockin’ Byrds led to a memorable collaboration with the late Gene Clark that helped fuel the country rock movement.

Doug was influenced by the legendary Earl Scruggs, and Doug, in turn, influenced generations of new pickers. Steve Martin regularly cites Doug as one of the reasons he plays the instrument.

The Dillards are enshrined in IBMA’s hall of fame. And Doug Dillard will always have a special place in the history of the music we love.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.