Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Mountain Heart
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Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
With nearly 40 albums to their credit, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA and SPBGMA Award nominations, and are 7-time winners of IBMA’s Vocal Group of the Year. Lawson is reigning SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are the reigning Inspirational Country Music Association (ICM) Vocal Group of the Year, crowned in October 2012 at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, on the heels of Lawson’s induction into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at the Ryman Auditorium on September 27, 2012.
A native Tennessean, Lawson was honored in February 2012 by Governor Bill Haslam and the State of Tennessee for his contributions to the state and America through his music (Senate Joint Resolution 467).
Lawson was heralded by journalist Craig Havighurst as “one of music’s lions” following his band’s performance at the 2011 IBMA Awards Press Conference in Nashville. Of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s performance — which garnered three standing ovations from a sold-out crowd in Nashville — Havighurst wrote: “There was no question who was going to close the show. Doyle Lawson is one of music’s lions at this point, and when he came out in perhaps the most beautiful western jacket I’ve ever seen… he was a holy vision. … When DLQ, in quartet mode, nailed the final chorus of the a cappella gospel song “He Made It All Right,” I swear we were mainlining the holy spirit. You know how the word awesome gets overused and misused? Here’s where it applies.”
Reinvention: It’s a word that gets used a lot in the music world, and to put it politely, it’s not always justified. But when it comes to Mountain Heart and their first album in five years, no other will do. Following the release of 2010’s That Just Happened, the bluegrass-born quintet changed virtually everything but their commitment to making deeply authentic, brilliantly crafted music. And now, with their self-produced Blue Skies, the new Mountain Heart is showing how compelling that kind of renewal can be.
Just how much has changed? Start with the fact that not a single founding member remains, and that the group welcomed its final arrival, violinist Molly Cherryholmes (of 5-time GRAMMY nominees Cherryholmes) just weeks before going into the studio. The deeper transformation is apparent almost from the first notes of “Addicted," as the consistent, polished sonic palette of the bluegrass band that used to be gives way to a kaleidoscope of sounds and textures—nearly all of them captured live in the studio—that place Mountain Heart on the cutting edge of free-ranging modern acoustic music. The same soulfulness that gave the band its name in the first place is still there, but it’s now voiced through a blend of musicians that make room not just for their bluegrass legacy, but for the excitement of R&B, the introspection of singer/songwriter ballads, the irrepressible rhythms of funk and boogie woogie, the profound simplicity of classic country, the atmospherics of modern folk pop, and more.
Indeed, to listen to Blue Skies is to take a journey through a wide and well-chosen array of subjects and stories and roots music sounds, guided by a group who, despite their youth, have mastered the techniques and absorbed the emotional truths of them all. And though a handful of similarly rooted names like country sensation Chris Stapleton and the Bob Dylan of 50 years ago appear in the credits, there’s no mistaking that you’re listening to the voice of Mountain Heart alone.
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