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Lawson coming to Erwin

Renown bluegrass recording artist Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will make their way back to their home turf this weekend.
The group joins the Unicoi County High School Bluegrass Band and The Spivey Mountain Boys for a concert at the UCHS gymnasium on Saturday, June 6. Tickets are $22 at the door with music set to start at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the show will go toward the Erwin Knights semi-professional football team.
Lawson and his bandmates have toured off and on for more than half a decade. Most recently, the group played sold out shows in Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
“It is always good to come back home,” Lawson said in a phone interview with The Erwin Record on Friday, May 29, before a show in Auburn. “I don’t get a chance to do many home shows.”
Lawson and his bandmates stay on the road the majority of the year. With around 120 shows a year, the group spends 220-230 days on the road, but the love of the music keeps the thrill alive, according to Lawson.
A native of Sullivan County, Lawson moved from Kingsport to Nashville in 1963 to begin his music career. The state of music featured a vast difference then compared to today, he said, with bluegrass and country music being played primarily together at concerts.
It wasn’t until 1965, when bluegrass festivals formed, that the genre saw a boom as country music started to branch into its own separate genre, Lawson added.
As the years went on, Lawson has been on the forefront of bringing exposure to bluegrass. Along with being a founding member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), Lawson joined the IBMA hall of fame in 2012 and was honored that same year by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for contributions made to the state and country music.
“The festivals really helped broaden the gap between country and bluegrass,” Lawson said. “Some of the lesser-known musicians had the chance to perform at the festivals to get their names out.
“The festivals, formation of the hall of fame … bluegrass has seen more air play and television coverage as a whole and has continued to grow over the past 20 years.”
The goal of the IBMA is simple, to help and promote bluegrass as a viable and recognized genre, Lawson said.
He also said he’s hoping to be one of the members to help pass the torch for future bluegrass musicians.
Lawson’s torch will be glowing bright this weekend
A generational clash will take place at UCHS with aspiring bluegrass musicians having the opportunity to take the stage with an internally-known group.
“It’s reassuring to see the growth,” Lawson said about the interest in the genre. “Bluegrass is a bit of the minority, but I like to see the young musicians enjoy it. I’m from a different era and it is always interesting to see kids take on the genre and see where they learned it from and watch the development of bluegrass.”
Northeast Tennessee continues to be a hotbed of bluegrass growth. East Tennessee State University provides a well-versed bluegrass program while Unicoi County is one of the few areas with a high school bluegrass group.
“People will have a chance to see six guys working hard to entertain,” Lawson said about the upcoming concert. “Our goal for every performance is to provide an entertaining show and if somebody’s had a rough week, help take a load off their shoulders in a family-friendly environment.”