The Dillards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Dillards
The Dillards 1977.JPG
The band in 1977
Background information
OriginSalem, Missouri, U.S.
Years active1963–present
Past members

The Dillards are an American bluegrass and country rock band from Salem, Missouri.[1] The band is best known for introducing bluegrass music into the popular mainstream with their appearance as "The Darlings" on The Andy Griffith Show.[2]

Band members[edit]

The Dillards circa 1981

The Dillards originally consisted of:

In 1968, Doug Dillard left to form Dillard and Clark. He continued to play occasionally with his brother until a few years before his death, in 2012.[4]

The 2015 lineup included:

  • Rodney Dillard and his wife Beverly Cotten-Dillard – clawhammer banjo, vocals
  • Tony Wray, featured guest – guitar, banjo, harmony vocals
  • Jeff Gilkinson – cello, bass, harmonica, porchboard, harmony vocals
  • Gary Smith – double bass
  • George Giddens – fiddle, mandolin, harmony vocal

Other members of the band have included:

  • Dewey Martin – drums
  • John Humphreys – 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
  • Wilburn Pace – banjo, fiddle
  • Richard Godfrey – drums
  • Shane Lail – guitar
  • Jim Glaspy – banjo, guitar
  • Billy Constable – guitar.[5]

The Andy Griffith Show[edit]

Though The Dillards were already an established bluegrass band,[2] 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.[6] 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.[citation needed] As part of their 2012 tour, Rodney Dillard answered questions about the TV series. He said the songs such as "Dooley" are about people the family knew.[6]

On the October 1963 episode "Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee", the Dillards performed the first wide scale airing of the 1955 Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith composition Feudin' Banjos (Dueling Banjos).

According to Jim Clark of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club, three albums have been produced with songs performed on the show. Clark says Songs That Make Me Cry is the only one currently available with real performances and has the three songs which included Maggie Peterson as Charlene. Back Porch Bluegrass: Live Almost includes five songs that were sung on the show, and Rodney Dillard released another album with the real performances of other songs.[7]

Pioneering influences[edit]

The Dillards are notable for being among the first bluegrass groups to have electrified their instruments in the mid-1960s.[8] They are considered to be pioneers of country rock and progressive bluegrass.[1] They are known to have directly or indirectly influenced artists such as the Eagles, the Byrds, and Elton John.[9] In 1972, The Dillards joined Elton John on his first American tour.[6] John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin has also acknowledged their influence, particularly in his decision to play the mandolin.[10]

Current members[edit]

Rodney Dillard is 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 a 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."[6]

George Giddens is a classically trained musician who is an awarded fiddler and mandolin player for the band.

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, and Ed Snodderly.

Former member, Dean Webb, died at the age of 81, on June 30, 2018.[3]



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Top 200 CAN
1963 Back Porch Bluegrass Elektra
1964 Live!!!! Almost!!!
1965 Pickin' and Fiddlin' (with Byron Berline)
1968 Wheatstraw Suite
1970 Copperfields
1972 Roots and Branches 79 56 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
2020 Old Road New Again Pinecastle Records


Year Album Label
1976 Country Tracks Elektra
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
1970 Rainmaker Copperfields
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


  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "The Dillards Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "The Dillards". Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. November 29, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Dean Webb passes". July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  4. ^ Doug Dillard dies at 75; banjo player, member of the Dillards band, May 18, 2012, retrieved May 25, 2016
  5. ^ "Billy Constable: Bluegrass Musician", Blueridge National Heritage Area, retrieved May 15, 2012
  6. ^ a b c d Rifkin, Carol (March 2, 2012). "From Mayberry to Black Mountain: The Dillards play mighty fine bluegrass". Asheville Citizen-Times. ProQuest 1471231168. Retrieved March 18, 2021 – via ProQuest.
  7. ^ Clodfelter, Tim (November 30, 2019). "Ask SAM". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  8. ^ Liner Notes for The Dillards' Wheatstraw Suite
  9. ^ Wolff, Kurt, and Duane, Orla "The Dillards", Country Music: The Rough Guide, p. 215
  10. ^ Ferenczi, Alexis (October 30, 2013). "Entretien avec John Paul Jones, ex-Led Zeppelin, parrain du festival Mandolines de Lunel". Le Huffington Post (French). HPMG News. Retrieved September 27, 2016.

External links[edit]