Some men celebrate their 63rd birthday by starting a countdown to retirement, but for bluegrass legend - and road warrior - Doyle Lawson, April 20th was a milepost on the way to one of his busiest and most successful seasons yet.
Fresh off taping an episode of GAC's Edge Of Country with Kylie Harris (air dates June 23rd & June 25th) that focuses on his newest release, More Behind the Picture than the Wall (Rounder), Lawson paused to break some big news before heading back on the road.
"I'm happy to announce that the new member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will be Ron Spears," he said. "Ron will be playing bass and handling lead and harmony vocals. Ron is a longtime student and fan of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and he understands the style - when we got together, the vocal blend with the trio and quartet was extremely pleasing to my ear. I'm looking forward to his vocal input as well as having another songwriter in the band." Spears, who penned "Ocean Of Teardrops" on Lawson's latest release, will start his new duties with Quicksilver on a yet-to-be-determined date.
In the meantime, the veteran bandleader is gearing up for a dizzying round of coast-to-coast performances and honors including stops at California's gigantic Stage Coach country music festival (5/6); Lawson's own bluegrass festival in Denton, NC (5/10-13) and Brooklyn, NY's Southpaw for a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts performance on June 1st. Tucked into the busy itinerary is a May 5th stop at Bristol, TN's King College, where Lawson will deliver this year's commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.
Offsetting the rigors of road life is More Behind The Picture Than The Wall, which is bidding to take its place among Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's most successful releases. The disc debuted at #2 on Billboard's Bluegrass Album chart week of release (March 27), with first week scans up more than 30% from the group's previous album. Critics are raving about its "timeless message" (Barnes & Noble) and the quintet's "expert harmonizers" (L.A. Daily News). "Quicksilver hears as clearly as ever the sound of traditions reborn," says No Depression of More Behind The Picture Than The Wall, and when they catch Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver in concert, this summer's fans will hear it, too.
2007 UPCOMING TOUR DATES
5/12 Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival Denton, NC
5/13 Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival Denton, NC
5/18 Bloomin' BBQ & Bluegrass Sevierville, TN
5/19 Community Theatre McKee, KY
5/25 Twitchell Auditorium Spartanburg, SC
5/26 Zellwood Corn Festival Zellwood, FL
6/01 Southpaw Brooklyn, NY
6/02 Graves Mountain Festival of Music Syria, VA
6/03 Ram's Head On Stage Annapolis, MD
6/08 McDukin Civic Center Cullman, AL
6/09 GA Mountain Fair Hiawassee, GA
6/16 NC State Bluegrass Festival Cherokee, NC
6/20 Chatuaqua Festival Wytheville, VA
6/21 River of Music Owensboro, KY
6/22 Music in the Mountains Summersville, WV
6/23 Renfro Valley Entertainment Center Renfro Valley, KY
7/06 Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival Conway, MO
7/07 Shadow Valley Gospel Music Fest Fayetteville, TN
7/12 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
7/13 N Georgia Bluegrass Festival Cleveland, GA
7/14 Watermelon Park Berryville, VA
7/19 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Ancramdale, NY
7/21 Walton Park Mineral, VA
7/25 MACC Festival Columbus, OH
7/26 Porter Center for Performing Arts Brevard, NC
7/28 Rocky Grass Festival Lyons, CO
7/29 Rocky Grass Festival Lyons, CA
8/04 Podunk Bluegrass Festival East Hartford, CT
8/10 Stonehedge Bluegrass Festival Gray, ME
8/11 Windmill Bay Farms Alburg, VT
8/17 Cherokee Bluegrass Festival Cherokee, NC
8/24 Grand Ole Gospel Theatre Chocowinity, NC
8/25 Andy Griffith Playhouse Mt. Airy, NC