Doyle Lawson & Bethel Mountain Band at the Blue Gate
I was born on April 20, 1944 in Ford Town, a part of Sullivan County, near Kingsport, TN, to Leonard and Minnie Lawson. I have two brothers, James and Les, and one sister, Colleen.
As far back as I can remember, I loved the sound of music. Just about everyone listened to The Grand Ole Opry, and our family was no exception. Though I listened to all the stars on the Opry, the group that impressed me most was Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys. His music was different, more intense. High lonesome is the term we used for it. I could hardly wait for Saturday nights to arrive so I could listen. I decided early on that I wanted to play that kind of music.
My father, mother, and sister all sang gospel music when I was young. They were members of trios and quartets that sang a cappella music in churches and at revivals, and such. No doubt, that was where I acquired my love of quartet music.
When I was 11 or 12 years old I expressed an interest in learning to play the mandolin, so my Father borrowed one from one of the members of their quartet, Willis Byrd so I could try. I mostly taught myself to play by listening to the radio, a few records, and watching the occasional TV show. I eventually returned that mandolin to Mr. Byrd, and years later, he gave it back to me at one of the first concerts Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver played in Sneedville, TN. I still have it.
I have been hosting the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver festival in Denton, NC for more than twenty-five years. A few years ago we started a golf tournament on Thursday, the week of the festival. I’d like to be able to say we were defending our title every year, but we aren’t (just wishing).
The gospel music that we record and perform on stage has always been important to me. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have made many more gospel recordings than secular ones. It is apparent to me that the folks who buy our music and come to our concerts feel, as I do, that there is no better message than the message of Jesus Christ. On the first Sunday of May, in 1985, I rededicated my life to our Lord Jesus. It is my fervent hope that my “musical mission” will lead others to Him.