Photo by Kim Brantley
June 16, 2021
With nearly six decades under his belt as a professional entertainer, Doyle Lawson is the reigning senior statesman of bluegrass music. Lawson has played his mandolin regularly at festivals, concerts, and churches all over the U.S.
Lawson recently announced that he will be stepping away as frontman of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver at the end of 2022. But you have one last chance to catch him live in our region on June 27 when Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver perform at Buck Lake Ranch.
Time for Retirement
In a statement, Lawson said that he had been thinking about retirement for a long time. With 2022 marking his 60th year in music, he felt that would be a good time to step aside from Quicksilver.
“I think it’s been 43 years for me in this role,” he said. “My voice has held up well and my hands feel good. I want to leave while I can still feel proud of my performance on stage. It’s always been my desire to walk away while I felt good, while I could still play.”
Lawson added that his decision has nothing to do with his relationship with the rest of the band, which consists of Stephen Burwell on fiddle, Matt Flake on fiddle and bass, Jerry Cole on bass and guitar, Ben James on guitar, and Eli Johnston on banjo.
“I’m not quitting for any other reason than what I am saying here,” Lawson said. “I like producing people in the studio and I’m still going to do some of that. I may also pop up on other projects if people want me.”
With retirement plans fully in motion, Lawson still intends to give it his all for the remainder of the next 18 months. He has a full schedule of live shows booked for this year and plans on releasing at least one more album with Quicksilver, maybe even two.
“I want to do one more gospel CD with Quicksilver,” he said. “I think it would be fitting for me to go out with that as a band leader.”
The newest CD, Roundtable, set for release on June 25, is Lawson’s 42nd with the group. The band has an astonishing output that averages almost one album per year for over four decades.
Tradition Respects Tradition
In an interview with Whatzup, Buck Lake Ranch general manager Ron Weimer said that he has always wanted to have Lawson play his venue. Since this is Lawson’s last tour, he figured there was no time like the present.
“I wanted to get him here while I could,” Weimer said. “It’s very special for me to have him here. My background is in bluegrass and this is traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel.”
He also said Buck Lake Ranch will be holding a worship service on Sunday morning in cooperation with some area churches.
“We’ll probably have another band on Saturday night, and we are doing an Amish style lunch buffet at 11:30 a.m., prior to the show at 1 p.m.”
Camping is available overnight. Patrons can purchase a combination lunch and concert ticket for $50.
Buck Lake Ranch will host a special presentation at the show during which Doyle Lawson’s name will be added to the famous stage.
The ranch is known as one of the oldest outdoor venues in the U.S., opening in 1947. It has played host to many legendary performers over the years.
“A lot of artists got their start here,” Weimer said. “Buddy Holly, Minnie Pearl, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and just about anybody you can name played here. All of those names are on the stage, so we are adding Doyle Lawson to that list.”
Not the End for Quicksilver
Because he is retiring from live performances, the June 27 show will be the last and only time Lawson will play Buck Lake Ranch.
But since Quicksilver will likely continue without Lawson, his influence will continue to be felt in their music for years to come.
“I just want to pass the torch,” Lawson said. “You’ve got young bands coming on, so if I move away from the touring part of music, that will open up things for others. On the other side of the coin, they may be glad I’m out of the way!”
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