Doyle Lawson & Stephen Burwell. Backstage, Bluegrass Island 2017.
It’s no secret that it’s something of a challenge to hold a bluegrass band together, unless you happen to be Blue Highway (although even those guys have had their own mini staffing crises). Probably no band of late better signifies the revolving door nature of a bluegrass ensemble than does Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. With the recent announcement of banjo man Joe Dean’s departure from the band, hot on the heals of fiddler Stephen Burwell’s departure announcement last week and dobro ace Josh Swift’s in January, Doyle Lawson is probably frantically scouring Craigslist in a bid to find the latest Quicksilver members (not really; we’re pretty sure he has more appropriate and established recruitment channels).

We took the above short video of the then Quicksilver ensemble playing the Bill Monroe instrumental ‘Big Country’ to close out day 1 of the Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival in early October 2017. Appropriately for today, it highlights the will-surely-be-missed antics of the three most recent Quicksilver departed – Josh Swift (dobro), Stephen Burwell (fiddle) and Joe Dean (banjo). Today, only Doyle Lawson himself (mandolin) remains of this particular Quicksilver lineup, both Eli Johnston (bass) and Dustin Pyrtle (guitar) having took their own leave of the band in 2018.

Doyle Lawson. Bluegrass Island 2017, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina. October 4, 2017.

We’ve no doubt Doyle will continue his habit of filling out his roster with top-notch professionals; he has excelled in this aspect of bluegrass band HR since Quicksilver’s formation in 1979. But whomever the personnel drafted in, they’ll have some of the most consistently highest standards in the bluegrass business to uphold. We wait further developments with interest.

 Warming up the boss. Doyle Lawson and Stephen Burwell. Warming up backstage at Bluegrass Island 2017, Roanoke Island Festival Park, Outer Banks, North Carolina. October 4, 2017.

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