Doyle Lawson interview at Mandolin Cafe

Mandolin Cafe has a new interview up with Doyle Lawson, which is unique in two particular ways.

First off, the questions came from members and readers of the site who, secondly, are mandolinists themselves, giving the interview a tone of musical seriousness, as this example shows.

Question from RE Simmers: The tenor you sang with the Country Gents was very high. In Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver you always have one excellent tenor singer and most of the time you have two. What was the reason that you switched from tenor to baritone?

Doyle Lawson: I started out singing baritone and playing banjo for Jimmy Martin. When I went to work with J.D. Crowe, I was mostly singing lead. I started singing tenor because we had no one to do it. Gordon Scott had been working with us while he was a student at U.K. When he graduated he moved on to make his degree worth all the time he took to get it. Anyway, my range was pretty good and I just started to get stronger and sing higher with it. Playing mandolin and singing tenor was what I became known for. In 1979 I formed Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and I wanted to break the ties that connected me to the Country Gentlemen. I had been with Crowe a little over 5 years and the Country Gentlemen 7 1/2 years. These were all great years for me but I wanted to sound different than what I had been doing. So, with that in mind, I began experimenting with different vocal arrangements. Sometimes I would sing lead, sometimes baritone and sometimes tenor.

Lou Reid, Jimmy Haley and Terry Baucom are all excellent vocalists and all could sing multiple harmony parts. That made it even easier to make the transition.

Read the full piece online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.