11 November 2021

Doyle Lawson steps away; award for Michael Cleveland

The BIB reported on 1 July that Doyle Lawson, who brought his band Quicksilver to top the bill at the 2006 Omagh festival, had announced his intention to withdraw from touring at the end of 2022 or early in 2023, after sixty years as a professional bluegrass musician, and over forty as one of the most respected and influential bandleaders in bluegrass history. He was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

In an interview by Garrett K. Woodward on the Bluegrass Situation, Doyle now announces that he will retire as a bandleader at the end of 2021. It's a good and very quotable interview; he speaks of his early years with Jimmy Martin and J.D. Crowe, the decision to go full-time, the responsibilities of a bandleader, his friendship with Tony Rice - 'one of the most dedicated men to his craft that I’ve ever met' - and much more, ending with his decision 'to step away when I’m still happy with what I just did'.
Michael Cleveland, who has played more than once at Omagh and topped the bill there with his band Flamekeeper, recently received the Governor's Arts Award of the state of Indiana; see John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today, with four videos from different times in Michael's career, starting at the age of 9. He was about 13 when he played on the IBMA stage as one of the Bluegrass Youth All-Stars (the concept, like many other things, originated with Pete Wernick), and in the video the excitement of the audience is palpable.

© Richard Hawkins

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