Victor Dowdy steps down from the bass with The Bluegrass Brothers

For more than a quarter century, The Bluegrass Brothers have been traveling the country, performing hard core, mountain style bluegrass wherever they go. Heavily influenced by the Stanley sound from their native southwestern Virginia, this band is among the most entertaining acts in our music, for their rough and ragged sound, and the energy they display providing it.

Initially the group was fronted by two brothers, Robert and Victor Dowdy, providing them their name. Some years ago, Robert came off the road, and Victor continued with his two sons, Donald and Steve, in tow, maintaining the validity of the band name. Victor is a dramatically authentic Stanley-style vocalist, and has played bass with the group from the start.

But now back problem have started to nag at him, and Victor has announced that he is stepping down as bass player with The Bluegrass Brothers. He will continue to tour with the band as a singer, until and unless surgery is required on his back. But as it is very important to him to keep the group going, and as a family operation, his son Steve is returning to play bass, with Travis Chandler now on guitar. Donald Dowdy will remain on mandolin, with Chris Hart on reso-guitar, and Jamie Sparks on banjo.

Donald has received the singing gene from his father, and has developed into a fine vocalist himself. Should Victor be unable to stay with the band, he will take over those duties.

Victor is quite proud of what he and Robert started back in 1989, and you can sense the wistfulness in his statement to fans yesterday on Facebook.

“I think this configuration of family with friends will bring some really good tight picking and singing that our fans for many years will appreciate, along with a lot of new material being played. There is a lot of talent and experience that will be shown with our new sound. We will be traveling in our old bus that has a fresh new coat of paint from our good friend, Vince Zimmerman.

The Bluegrass Brothers have been in business for years. I hope someday I can pass the torch on to my sons and they can continue on with our name as being one of the best in the business that me and my brother started many years ago.”

Here’s a sample of Victor’s singing on the Gospel classic, Heaven, famously recorded by Flatt & Scruggs and Seldom Scene.

Hart tells us that the band is pumped to have Steve back, and are looking forward to this season on the road.

You can keep up with The Bluegrass Brothers 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.