Nashville, TN (PRWEB) September 11, 2009
Influential bluegrass group The Dillards will be inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame on Thursday October 1, 2009. The ceremony will be held as part of the 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Dillards have been playing together for over 50 years. Rodney Dillard (guitar) and his brother Doug Dillard (banjo) grew up playing music with their family and friends in and around Salem, Missouri. In 1958 the pair began regularly recording and distributing their music and soon completed their group by recruiting Dean Webb (mandolin) and Mitch Jayne (string bass).
"We were literally playing back porch bluegrass every night, perfecting our technique and writing songs at Mitch's house," Rodney Dillard said as he described piercing the quiet country air with twang-filled licks of true American bluegrass.
"But we wanted something more," said Rodney, "and I knew that California held the key to our musical future. I knew we had to get out there."
In 1962, the four "Dillards" played their first show at Washington University in St. Louis and then hit the road for Los Angeles. Their first night in town they stopped by a club called The Ash Grove. They were invited to jam on stage, impressed an Elektra Records rep in the crowd, and were signed to Elektra Records by the next evening.
A producer with The Andy Griffith Show heard about the Elektra signing and asked The Dillards to audition for the newly created role of The Darlings, a bluegrass-playing family whose patriarch was to be played by actor Denver Pyle. "We were playing through our audition song and Andy (Griffith) watched for just a few seconds, said 'That's it' and then walked out," recalled Rodney as he described one of the most important moments of his life. "Based on Andy's comment I honestly thought we weren't getting the job but what he really meant is that we were ideal for the show."
Mr. Griffith and the producers loved the authentic sound and felt the group was perfect. Rodney, Doug, Dean, and Mitch were cast immediately and to this day The Dillards are the most often seen bluegrass artists in the world (thanks to the still enormous popularity of The Andy Griffith Show re-runs).
The Dillards used the opportunity to bring original songs such as "Ebo Walker" and "There is a Time" to the producers. The result is that Bluegrass Music gained a national audience on a television show that is consistently voted one of the best ever. Outside the show, the group's popularity increased each year as they wrote and performed songs that have become bluegrass standards like "Dooley," "Doug's Tune," and "Banjo in the Holler."
The Dillards also gained acclaim for modernizing and re-imagining the sound of bluegrass. They were among the first bluegrass musicians to "electrify" their instruments and quickly crossed over into mainstream pop culture awareness. The Dillards are credited with preparing the music scene for the country rock movement and the band's songwriting and producing talents affected a broad range of important future musicians in the bluegrass and pop music world.
The band has experienced roster changes over the past 50 years but has reunited periodically in concert and television appearances, and members continue to perform regularly across the country. Rodney, who runs the website http://www.thedillards.tv, noted, "The Dillards are supremely honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and we are proud of our contribution to American music history. Thank you to our friends, family, and the loyal fans who have supported us on this journey from our back porch in Salem, Missouri to the world stage."