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THE DILLARDS

  • From Salem, Missouri. During most of their career, they lived in Los Angeles, California.
  • Rodney Dillard (guitar) and Doug Dillard (banjo) began performing together as The Dillard Brothers in 1958. Their original band included John Hartford on fiddle.
  • 1962, formed The Dillards with Mitch Jayne (bass) and Dean Webb (mandolin). This configuration of the band was together for six years and is considered the “original” Dillards.
  • 1962, decided to try their luck in California. After arriving in Los Angeles (November, 1962) they performed at the famous folk club “The Ash Grove.” This led to their record deal with Elektra Records and a job on the “Andy Griffith Show” playing a family of slow-witted hillbillies called “The Darlin’ Family.”
  • Their three LP’s “Backporch Bluegrass,” “Live … Almost,” and “Pickin’ and Fiddlin” (with Byron Berline on fiddle) are considered bluegrass classics, including such songs as Dooley, The Old Home Place, There is a Time, Doug’s Tune, Dueling Banjos, etc.
  • 1964, they recorded an album for World Pacific Records under the name “The Folkswingers” with Glen Campbell playing 12-string guitar.
  • Their 1965 “Pickin’ and Fiddlin'” album featured Byron Berline on fiddle and introduced him to bluegrass.
  • They were one of the most influential bluegrass bands of the 1960’s—popular on the thriving west coast folk music scene, performing at all the major folk clubs in Los Angeles—the Ash Grove, the Troubador, the Ice House, to name a few.
  • Among those who have credited the Dillards with many of their musical ideas: the late Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman (The Byrds and the Desert Rose Band), Byron Berline, Bernie Leadon (The Eagles), John McEuen (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), John Hartford, Steve Martin, Sam Bush, many others.
  • They were the first (and perhaps only) bluegrass band to incorporate stand-up comedy into its act, featuring storyteller Mitch Jayne, along with the unpredictable antics of Rodney Dillard, who was the butt of most of Mitch’s jokes.
  • 1966-67, toured with the Byrds which led to Doug Dillard’s departure to form a new band with The Byrds’ Gene Clark called The Dillard and Clark Expedition.
  • 1968, Doug Dillard was replaced by Herb Pederson and it was during this period that the Dillards recorded two landmark albums, “Wheatstraw Suite” and “Copperfields.”
  • 1972, toured with Elton John.
  • After Herb Pederson left the Dillards in 1972 (he was replaced by Billy Ray Lathum), the group went through several personnel changes, including the retirement of Mitch Jayne. The group eventually folded and during most of the 80’s, Rodney and Dean worked together at Silver Dollar City, a theme park in Branson, Missouri.
  • Following a reunion tour in 1989, they attempted a comeback with Steve Cooley on banjo, recording two new albums for Vanguard Records.
  • Rodney lives in Branson and has his own recording studio.
  • Mitch is a writer and storyteller. Has has authored several books and was, for a time, the official spokesperson for the International Bluegrass Museum. In 2007, he published his first novel “Fiddler’s Ghost.”
  • In the mid-70’s, Doug moved to Nashville and formed The Doug Dillard Band.
  • Dean lives in Branson, Missouri. In 2009, he formed a bluegrass band called “Missouri Boat Ride” (named after a line from the movie “The Outlaw Josie Wales.”)
  • John McEuen produced a documentary video about the original Dillards called “A Night in the Ozarks”.
  • 1999, the Dillard’s drummer from 1968 on, Paul York, died at the age of 58.
  • 2000, Rodney recorded and toured with Christian singer/songwriter Bruce Haynes as The Dillard/Haynes Band.
  • 2002, the original band appeared at Carnegie Hall with Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
  • 2009, The Dillards were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. All four of the original band were present to receive the honor at the IBMA Awards Show in Nashville.
  • 2010, Rodney began touring and recording as Rodney Dillard and the Dillard Band. Released I Wish Life Was Like Mayberry album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2010, Mitch Jayne died at the age of 80.
  • 2012, Doug Dillard died at the age of 75.

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