The band in 1977
|Origin||Salem, Missouri, United States|
The Dillards originally consisted of Douglas Dillard (born March 6, 1937, Salem, Missouri - May 16, 2012) on banjo, Rodney Dillard (born May 18, 1942, Salem, Missouri) playing the guitar, and dobro, Dean Webb (born March 28, 1937, Independence, Missouri) on mandolin, and Mitchell Franklin "Mitch" Jayne (July 5, 1928, Hammond, Indiana – August 2, 2010) on double bass. In 1968, Doug Dillard left to form Dillard and Clark, although he continued to play occasionally with his brother until a few years before he died in 2012.
The 2015 lineup includes Rodney Dillard and his wife Beverly Cotten-Dillard (clawhammer banjo, vocals), Featured Guest Tony Wray (guitar, banjo, harmony vocals), Jeff Gilkinson (cello, bass, harmonica, porchboard, harmony vocals), Ken Lingad (drum set, cajon, hand and foot percussion, and harmony vocals), Gary J. Smith (double bass), and George Giddens (fiddle, mandolin, harmony vocal).
Other members of the band have included Dewey Martin (drums), Herb Pedersen (banjo, guitar), Billy Ray Latham (banjo, guitar, electric guitar), Ray Park (fiddle), Paul York (drums), Jeff Gilkinson (bass, cello, harmonica, banjo), Douglas Bounsall (electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle), Byron Berline (fiddle), Irv Dugan (bass), Bill Bryson (bass), Glen D. Hardin (keyboards), Seth Papas (drums), Buddy Blackmon (banjo), Rick McEwen (bass), Ric Williams (drums), Joe Villegas (bass), Eddie Ponder (drums), Pete Grant (banjo, steel guitar), Steve Cooley (banjo, guitar, upright bass), Wilbur Pace (banjo, fiddle, Richard Godfrey (drums), Shane Lail (guitar), Jim Glaspy (banjo, guitar) and Billy Constable (guitar).
The Andy Griffith Show
Though The Dillards were already an established bluegrass band, their biggest claim to fame is performing musically as members of the fictional Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show, introducing bluegrass to many Americans who had never heard it. This was a recurring role and the Dillards were led by veteran character actor Denver Pyle as their father and jug player, Briscoe Darling. Maggie Peterson played Charlene Darling, their sister and the focus for the attentions of character Ernest T. Bass, played by Howard Morris. The appearances of the Dillards as the Darlings ran between 1963 and 1966. In 1986, the Dillards reprised the role in the reunion show Return to Mayberry. As part of their current tour, Rodney Dillard answers questions about the TV series. He says the songs such as "Dooley" are about people the family knew.
The Dillards are notable for being among the first bluegrass groups to have electrified their instruments in the mid-1960s. They are considered to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning southern California folk rock, country rock and progressive bluegrass genres, and are known to have directly or indirectly influenced artists such as The Eagles, The Byrds, and Elton John. In 1972, The Dillards joined Elton John on his first American tour.
Rodney Dillardis a founding member of The Dillards - the group he formed with his brother, Douglas Dillard in the late 1950s. Credited throughout the years as the driving force behind the group's musical direction, success, and phenomenal longevity as working act. Today, Dillard's musical duties include lead and harmony vocals, guitar, and dobro.
Beverly Cotten-Dillard is a native of Morrisville, North Carolina who performed with Janette Carter, Ola Belle Reed, Tommy Jarrell, and Doc and Merle Watson. She has appeared on Hee Haw and the Disney Channel and at Carnegie Hall. Cotten-Dillard is recognized as an authority on the traditional "clawhammer" banjo technique and is a featured member of The Dillards live shows. Her 1981 album Clog-In 'is considered an American folk classic."
Jeff Gilkinson has returned to the lineup playing his signature 5-string cello, harmonica, and singing background vocals. Gilkinson is known for his earlier contributions as a member of The Dillards, having penned some of the group's well-known songs, such as Annabel Lee, Hymn to the Road, Mason Dixon, and others, while also recording several records with The Dillards. In addition to his accomplishments with The Dillards, Gilkinson is known for his work with Tom T. Hall, Jennifer Warnes, Mason Williams, Doug Dillard, John Hartford, Delbert McClinton, Michael Johnson, Michael Martin Murphy, Chris Wallin, Jon Vezner, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, and others.
George Giddens is a classically trained musician who is an awarded fiddler and mandolin player for the band.
Ken Lingad serves as the drummer for The Dillards and Music Director. Of Native American (Isleta Pueblo) descent, Lingad was tapped by Rodney Dillard for his diverse experience as a professional percussionist, and for his particular expertise playing cajon and other ethnic hand and foot instruments.
Gary J. Smith was added to the lineup, having recorded double bass in the 2015 studio sessions for the new Dillards album. Smith is well known in Nashville circles after stints with Tom T. Hall, The Brother Boys, Ed Snodderly, and his long-time collaborator, Jeff Gilkinson.
Virtuoso guitar and banjo artist Tony Wray fulfilled the majority of guitar and banjo duties on the new Dillards album project during the late summer and fall 2015. As of Spring 2016, Wray is solely focused on his own projects, but divides his time between live dates and studio sessions with The Dillards, as available.
A brief reunion between Rodney Dillard and former Dillards member, Jeff Gilkinson, inspired Dillard to invite the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter to rejoin the band. Assuming his previous role as bass player with a twist - utilizing his 5-string cello as the bass voice - Gilkinson began playing full-time with The Dillards in summer of 2014.
Gilkinson, who was already signed to a management deal with Nashville-based 1680Entertainment (1680E), brought Rodney Dillard and The Dillards to the attention of Ken Lingad (the head of the 1680E management group) who immediately signed Dillard to a 360-degree management deal, with the promise of reinvigorating the "Dillards" brand worldwide by "taking the name, image, and music to every man, woman, and child on the planet..."
In the early fall of 2014, Gilkinson reached out to Dillard to pitch a song written by a Nashville artist, urging Dillard to consider recording a brand new album. Pre-production of the untitled "new Dillards album" began in spring 2015. Having not found the right "fit" with various Nashville-based producers, Lingad suggested bringing legendary Grammy Award-winning recording engineer and producer Bil VornDick (Alison Krauss, Bob Dylan, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, The Earls of Leicester, Ralph Stanley, and more) on board the project. With VornDick and Lingad serving as Producer and Executive Producer, respectively, the album commenced recording in September 2015, with VornDick also handling recording engineer duties.
The recording of the album prompted Rodney Dillard to also augment the newly rebuilt Dillards live band (after previously adding Jeff Gilkinson and Ken Lingad to the lineup) with ace guitar/banjo talent, Tony Wray, and double bassist, Gary J. Smith.
As-yet-untitled, the full-length "new Dillards album" is scheduled for major label release in summer 2016 under the 1680RPM imprint.
|Year||Album||US Top 200||Label|
|1963||Back Porch Bluegrass||—||Elektra|
|1965||Pickin' and Fiddlin' (with Byron Berline)||—|
|1972||Roots and Branches||79||Anthem|
|1973||Tribute to the American Duck||—||Poppy|
|1977||The Dillards vs. The Incredible L.A. Time Machine||—||Flying Fish|
|1978||Mountain Rock||—||Crystal Clear|
|1979||Decade Waltz||—||Flying Fish|
|1980||Homecoming and Family Reunion||—|
|1991||Let It Fly||—||Vanguard|
|1992||Take Me Along For The Ride||—|
|1999||A Long Time Ago: The First Time Live||—||Varèse Sarabande|
|2006||Early Recordings - 1959||—|
|1986||I'll Fly Away||Edsel|
|1991||There Is a Time (1963-70)||Vanguard|
|1995||The Best of The Darlin' Boys|
|1996||Roots and Branches/Tribute to the American Duck||Beat Goes On|
|2001||Back Porch Bluegrass & Live!!!! Almost!!!||Warner Strategic Marketing|
|2004||Pickin' and Fiddlin', Wheatstraw Suite & Copperfields|
|2005||Let The Music Flow: The Best of the Dillards 1963-1979||Raven|
|Year||Title||Billboard Hot 100||Album||Label|
|1963||Dooley||—||Back Porch Bluegrass||Elektra|
|Hootin' Banjo [Duelin' Banjo]||—|
|1965||Nobody Knows||—||singles only||Capitol|
|1966||The Last Thing On My Mind||—|
|1968||Reason To Believe||—||Wheatstraw Suite||Elektra|
|1969||Listen To The Sound||—|
|Close The Door Lightly||—|
|One Too Many Mornings||—||singles only||White Whale|
|Comin' Home Again||—|
|1971||It's About Time||No. 92||Anthem|
|1972||One A.M.||No. 111||Roots and Branches|
|America (The Lady Of The Harbor)||—||single only|
|1973||Hot Rod Banjo||—||Tribute to the American Duck||Poppy|
|1975||Stones Throw Away||—||single only||United Artists|
|1977||The Poet||—||The Dillards Vs. The Incredible L.A. Time Machine||Sonet|
- Rifkin, Carol (2012-03-02). "From Mayberry to Black Mountain: The Dillards play mighty fine bluegrass". Asheville Citizen-Times. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
- Doug Dillard dies at 75; banjo player, member of the Dillards band, retrieved 25 May 2016
- "Billy Constable: Bluegrass Musician", Blueridge National Heritage Area, retrieved 15 May 2012
- Liner Notes for The Dillards' Wheatstraw Suite
- Wolff, Kurt, and Duane, Orla "The Dillards", Country Music: The Rough Guide, p. 215