Doyle Lawson

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.

More Information

  • Brantley, Michael, “Doyle Lawson: Light on his Feet, Ready to Fly . . . Farther,” Bluegrass Unlimited (June, 2011): 26-30.
  • Goldsmith, Tommy, “Doyle Lawson and the Roots of Quicksilver, “Bluegrass Unlimited 38, # 11 (May 2004): 40-46.
  • Stafford, Tim, “Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver: The Original Band,” in Thomas Goldsmith, ed., The Bluegrass Reader (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 247-52.
  • Kingsbury, Paul, ed. The Encyclopedia of Country Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 292.
  • McIntyre, Les, “Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver – The First 20 Years,” Bluegrass Unlimited 34, #12 (June 2000): 36-40.
  • Orteza, Arsenio, “Rejoice!: Doyle Lawson the Country Gentleman Presses On,” Bluegrass Unlimited 28,#5 (Nov 1993): 24-27.
  • Rosenberg, Neil V., Bluegrass: A History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), pp. 358.
  • Weisberger, John, “A Beautiful Life: Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver Sound,” Journal of Country Music 25, #1 (2006): 12-20.
  • Willis, Barry R, America’s Music: Bluegrass (Franktown, CO: Pine Valley Music, 1992), pp. 316-20.