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. 


For Doyle Lawson’s National Heritage Fellowship profile, go to

For more on Doyle Lawson and his recordings, go to:

For further reading, see:

Brantley, Michael.  “Doyle Lawson: Light on his Feet, Ready to Fly . . . Farther,“ Bluegrass Unlimited  45, # 12 (June 2011):  26-30.
Goldsmith, Tommy, “Doyle Lawson and the Roots of Quicksilver,“ Bluegrass Unlimited  38, # 11 (May 2004):  40-46. 
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. 358ff.
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.
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.


See sources above for information about Lawson’s many recordings