Pop & Rock

Deep Bluegrass


Mandolinist and vocalist Doyle Lawson, one of primary voices in modern bluegrass, worked with numerous bands and musicians throughout the '60s and '70s before assembling Foxfire in 1979. Foxfire quickly became known as Quicksilver, and the band recorded nearly 30 albums over the next three-and-a-half decades. You Gotta Dig A Little Deeper, the band's 2009 debut on Rounder, features the lineup of bassist Barry Scott, guitarist Jamie Dailey, banjoist Terry Baucom, and fiddler Jesse Stockman.

The dozen tracks encompass elements of bluegrass, country and gospel -- all woven into a set of songs written by Lawson and his bandmates as well as prominent country and bluegrass songwriters like Pete Goble, Porter Wagoner and Robert Gateley.

The set starts with the paradoxically mournful yet locomotive-paced "Heartbreak Number Nine," a tune by Scott and Bailey that showcases fast-paced banjo/mandolin interplay along with and airtight vocal harmonies. Midway through the set, "Saving Grace" is a heart-wrenching ballad about the ravages of old age. Grace is a woman whose mind is slipping into dementia, and the song is a tribute to her devoted husband of forty years who continues to care for her.

But there's plenty of room on Dig A Little Deeper for the upbeat, as evidenced by the instrumental "Rosine" and the devotional "Girl From West Virginia," two tracks that follow "Grace" with a much more buoyant sensibility.

"Clearly this man has made a difference," says Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs in his liner notes to this recording. "His work speaks for itself and he has the awards to confirm this. Nevertheless, Doyle Lawson is not ready to retire or rest on his laurels. There is so much more that he wants to contribute. He must always dig a little deeper."

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