bluegrass musician, Bristol
National Heritage Fellowship (2006)
Doyle Lawson (1944- ) was born in Ford Town (Sullivan County) and lived in Sneedville as a youngster. His family sang gospel music, and he also became interested in bluegrass, which he began performing professionally with Jimmy Martin, J.D. Crowe, and the Country Gentlemen. Having established himself as a leading mandolin player and tenor singer, in 1979 Lawson became a bandleader as well, forming Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Based in Bristol, the band is known for tight trio harmonies and a signature bluegrass gospel repertory drawing on both “Southern” and African American gospel styles. Many former members of his band have gone on to prominent careers of their own, making Lawson one of the most influential, as well as traditional, second generation figures in bluegrass.