We received this note today from John Cowan, something he shared with his friends and fans online today, reflecting on the loss last week of Dillards founding member, Dean Webb. As a long time and final member of New Grass Revival, John was deeply influenced by The Dillards and wanted to share a word of gratitude to Webb for welcoming him into the bluegrass family when he arrived as a newcomer.
Today I am thinking about Dean Webb, his family and the Dillard’s family.
When I first joined NGR being a young rocker with no knowledge of bluegrass other than NGDB’s 1st Circle recording, Sam [Bush], Curtis [Burch], and Courtney [Johnson] impressed upon me how very important the Dillards were. I bought Copperfields and Wheatstraw Suite. Needless to say I was blown away. Not too long thereafter we ended up playing shows with The Dillards.
There is a tear-producing scene at the end of the Fred Rogers documentary, Would You Be My Neighbor, where Mr. Rogers asks the viewers to contemplate all those people who ever “helped you” in the course of your life.
Today I’m remembering how very kind and supportive Dean was to all of us and how comforting that was to a bunch of young musicians that were confronted regularly about the validity of the path we were pursuing. Let’s also not forget what a great mandolin player, singer, and MC he was.
Thank you Dean Webb, go rest high!
John is currently on tour with The Doobie Brothers, but will return to the bluegrass stage later this summer for a string of dates with Darin & Brooke Aldridge.