I just got the news that Doug Dillard passed away a couple days ago in Nashville. Doug was a banjo player who you will find in the credits of a ton of incredible albums from the 60s-70s. He played banjo for guys like Johnny Cash, The Monkees and The Byrds. He had bands with brilliant songwriters like John Hartford or Gene Clark. He was such a creative and influential dude who helped create American Folk Rock music in a lot of ways. So here is the story of how I once met Doug Dillard in a totally random way.
A couple years ago The Farewell Drifters were invited to play a showcase for a bunch of music industry folk here in Nashville. To get to the show we were driving through this little neighborhood and walking down the side of the road is an old guy with an incredibly cool strut dressed in all black with a fancy walking cane and an old motorcycle cap like on the cover of The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark.
We drove past him and I yelled for Zach to stop the van. We had already driven like 200 feet past him and I said “I think that was Doug Dillard!” I recognized the hat. We reversed the van all the way back down the street to this guy. I rolled down the window and said “Doug?” and he had the biggest smile ever and said “can I get a ride?” So we gave Doug Dillard a ride home. Kind of a short story but one of my favorite Nashville encounters. I wish I could have gotten to know him more. I have always regretted not going back to his house and just asking if I could hang out and talk about music. If you haven’t gotten into Doug’s music check out some of these vids. Also, does anyone know what Beach Boys album he played on? I have often heard that he worked with them but haven’t found any of it.
Dillard & Clark Expedition
“Every Season Changes You” Dillards going electric with the help of two Byrds. Doug is on the electric 12 string. From 1964.
A bit of Doug’s session work.