resophonic guitar player, Nashville
National Heritage Fellowship (2004)
A native of Ohio, Jerry Douglas (1956- ) has in recent decades revolutionized resophonic guitar playing in bluegrass and related acoustic music. As a youngster growing up in bluegrass circles, Douglas was 11 when he took up the instrument–also known by the “Dobro” trade name—which features a metal cone resonator and is played horizontally with a metal slide. He began his professional career at age 18, playing with the Country Gentlemen, J.D. Crowe, and other leading bluegrass groups of the 1970s. In 1983, Douglas came to Nashville, where his stylistic innovations made him a highly sought-after studio and touring player in traditional, progressive, and commercial arenas of country music. In that role, he’s been at the forefront of recent popular revivals of roots music, and his work has extended the tradition of “Hawaiian” guitar playing into a new musical era.