HED: Growing some bluegrass

BY SHEENA BARNETT
Daily Journal
TUPELO – Any musician knows the finer points of building a band, recording an album and touring, but Doyle Lawson has enough experience doing those things to earn a doctorate in being a musician.
The bluegrass and gospel musician has thousands of shows and more than 30 studio albums under his belt. He’s also racked up plenty of awards with his band, Quicksilver. And he knows plenty about building a band, as he’s rebuilt Quicksilver over the years so young musicians can get their start in bluegrass by playing in his band.
He’s also played Fulton plenty of times as a staple of the upcoming ICC Benefit Bluegrass Concert. Out of all the shows Lawson and his band perform each year, Fulton is always a highlight, Lawson said.
“I’ve been to Fulton many times,” Lawson said in an interview with the Daily Journal. “The hospitality (there) is second to none, and there are some mighty good folks in that part in Mississippi.”
Lawson said his live shows are always pretty spontaneous.
“The guys (in my band) know, once I get started, they’d better hang on or I’m apt to call any song at any given time,” he said.
More work ahead
Lawson and Quicksilver’s Fulton show is just one of the many different jobs on their to-do list for 2009.
The band recently finished recording a new CD, which should be released in April.
“I think we’ve got a good one,” Lawson said about the new album. “Now we’re looking at touring, and we’ll do that for a while, and then in the fall I’ll start looking at material for a new gospel recording.”
Lawson said he is careful to choose songs that are fresh and different but also can carry that signature Quicksilver sound.
“I think, for an entertainer, for a recording artist, the kiss of death would be for somebody to say, ‘Well, here we have another Doyle Lawson record – well, what can I say?’ You want to change it enough so that this is not quite like the one before,” he said.
Though the studio presents its own challenges, Lawson feels most at home on a stage.
“I love the touring and I enjoy the studio, but (recording) is a lot of pressure,” he said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself in the fact that I self-produce. I’ve always been the producer; I’ve always done it myself…When I’m on stage and touring on the road, that part is gone. All I have to do is go out and try to entertain and make them happy and try to enjoy what I’m doing. So when we hit the stage and people respond to what we’re doing, that’s infectious to me.”
Lawson said he hopes his shows, in Fulton and everywhere else, are as entertaining and stress-relieving for his audience as they are for him and his group.
“We’re going to do our dead-level best to make them happy, to make them smile, to put some joy in their hearts and to make them think about some things,” he said. “I look at things as, my mission is to try to take, for just a little while, some of the cares of the world off their shoulders. Maybe we can sing something to them that will lift their spirits. I’ll do my best to do that.”

Sheena Barnett