Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Inner Views of Doyle Lawson

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9
Doyle's favorite Bible verse

  I don't ever remember a moment when bluegrass music was not an integral part of my life.  Some of my earliest childhood memories include moments sitting by my Daddy listening to him play his five-string banjo and learning to sing high tenor, honing that high lonesome sound with him and Mom.
 While every, single interview I have conducted for Inner Views has been distinctive and personally memorable to me, I must tell you that the Inner Views I am sharing with you today will forever hold an extraordinarily special place in my heart.  This humble man of God is a legendary giant in the world of bluegrass music and is one of my biggest musical heroes, hands down.  Whether you are a long-time fan or being introduced to him for the first time today, you will be abundantly blessed by reading his Inner Views.  I am deeply humbled and beyond grateful to have met him and for his kindness in taking the time to grant us this interview.  My only regret is that Dad isn't here to cherish this experience with me.


Doyle Lawson

Cheryl:  Could you share with us about your childhood?  What are some of your favorite memories to recall from your time growing up?

Doyle:  As far back as I can remember I have loved the sound of music. Radio was the vehicle of entertainment in those days and there was an abundance of local, regional and national programs to listen to. The ones I remember vividly are of course The Grand Ole Opry on WSM in Nashville and The Farm and Fun Time show heard daily on WCYB in Bristol, TN/VA. In the early 1950's my dad and mother along with one of his nephews started singing in churches locally and I loved to watch them work out the harmony parts and I absorbed everything I heard them do.

After hearing Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys on the Opry I was knocked out by Bill's voice and mandolin playing and decided that I was gonna be a picker and singer. In 1948 we moved to Leatherwood, KY when dad went to work for the Blue Diamond Coal Company. I saw my first country music show there when I was 5 years old. Mom had taken us to see a Roy Rogers movie at the Commissary (Company Store) Theater and Jimmie Skinner and his band performed after the movie. I was captivated by the whole thing and the fact that he had a mandolin player (Ray "Curly" Lunsford) was icing on the cake. When I was 11 years old, we were living in Hancock County, TN and dad was singing lead with the Clinch River Quartet and I discovered that one of the men in the quartet (Willis Byrd) had a mandolin and I asked dad to ask Willis if I could borrow it to learn to play. In 1958 I got to meet the man who became my first professional boss in music. Jimmy Martin was from Hancock County and had gone to work for Bill Monroe in 1949 and went on to front his own band The Sunny Mountain Boys in 1954, first teaming up with The Osborne Brothers. On the 3rd day of Feb. 1963 I went to Nashville and auditioned for him to pick the banjo and that started my 55 years and counting music career. I could go on and on with childhood memories, but time and space will not allow it. I suppose at some point in time I'll probably write my book.

Cheryl:  Were you raised in a Christian home?  What are your first recollections about Jesus?  How old were you when you became a Christian?

Doyle:  Yes, I was brought up in a Christian home after my dad rededicated his life in 1950. He and mom along with one of his nephews started singing in church as a trio and later added a bass singer. At the age of 8 during a revival service, I realized that I was lost, and I went to the altar and accepted Jesus as my Savior.

Cheryl:  Who has most influenced you in your walk with the Lord?  Is there a particular person who prayed for you most and whom you credit with being your strongest Christian mentor?

Doyle:  I would venture to say that the many prayers of my parents that went up on my behalf especially after I left home to chase my music dream.  Dad would tell me that many times he had no idea where I was, but he prayed for my safety.

Cheryl:  How has becoming a Christian impacted your music and career?

Doyle:  The music business can be full of worldly trappings and it can be easy to lose your way. And I did for a good while. But on the 1st Sunday of May in 1985 I humbled myself and asked God to take control of my life because I had made a mess of it. On the outside things looked and were going great but inside me I was miserable. I didn't have the one thing I needed most of all and that was God. He never ever left me, I left Him, but He was there when I truly asked for forgiveness. That was the best decision I have ever made as an adult.

Cheryl:  Who has most influenced you, musically?  Who are your musical heroes?

Doyle:  Bill Monroe was my first musical hero and then came the 1st generation of what was to become known as Bluegrass music. Flatt & Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, Jimmy Martin, The Stanley Brothers, Reno and Smiley, and The Osborne Brothers and more.

Gospel music would be The Chuck Wagon Gang, The Statesmen Quartet, The Blackwood Brothers, The Masters Family, The Browns Ferry Four, and local and regional groups.

Cheryl:  How did you become involved with Bluegrass?  What most draws you to this genre of music?

Doyle:  I covered this earlier but will elaborate on what drew me to it. The vocal emotion they sang with as well as the driving tempo used in many of the songs. Of course, Bill's commanding voice and dominant playing along with Earl Scruggs's banjo prowess. It was different than the mainstream country of that time and it was when every one group was trying to present their music in their own way.

Cheryl:  Can you share with us about a special highlight in your career?

Doyle:  Oh my, there are many to draw from, but I suppose the first-time appearance at the Opry with Jimmy Martin was one of the standouts. I had always wanted to go see the Grand Ole Opry and as it turned out the first time I saw it was from the stage.  I was so nervous you could literally see my pants legs shaking. The National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship award is another treasured memory as well as being inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame in 2012.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
From left to right:  Eli Johnston, Dustin Pyrtle, Stephen Burwell, Doyle Lawson, Josh Swift, & Joe Dean

Cheryl:  One of the songs of yours that has impacted my family and me the most is “Closer I Must Be."  To this day, I cry each time I hear it, and I would love to know the story behind the song.  How did you come across this song, and what persuaded you to record it?

Doyle:  Dee Gaskin wrote that song and I had the demo for quite a while and finally got it recorded on the Winding Through Life CD. When recording I like for songs to compliment each other and that one certainly had something to say about our desired walk with the Lord.

Cheryl:  Another of our personal favorites is one you co-wrote with Jamie Dailey, “Just Over In Heaven.”  As a songwriter, how do you find inspiration?  Is there a particular place you like to go to write?

Doyle:  While I have written a number of songs and co-wrote, even more, I have never thought of myself as a writer. I think I am a better song doctor because there are times when I think a song should maybe be more in-depth or take a different approach to the storyline. I think Jamie Dailey and I wrote well as a team. Much of the time he would have a melody and maybe a verse or so and we would start from there. Just Over In Heaven is written and performed much in the style of the Quartet music I listened to as a youngster. I want to be clear in the fact that I never change a writer's song without getting their permission.

Cheryl:  If you could go back and change one thing about your life, so far, what would it be?

Doyle:  I wouldn't want to go back and change anything because it could be that I would make it worse the second time. My belief is that when you humble yourself and pray for forgiveness of your transgressions, it's done and one should not beat themselves up and be remorseful of their past mistakes. God forgives and forgets and we should be joyfully accepting of that. And I thank Him for loving His children.

Cheryl:  Of all of the songs you have recorded, is there one that stands out as meaning the most to you?

Doyle:  When I record, be it Gospel or secular, every song on the cd earns its place. I don't record anything just to fill up space. So it's really hard for me to pick a favorite. The people that listen and buy my recordings determine the favorites most of the time. Probably the two most requested Gospel songs are "On The Sea Of Life" and "Help Is On The Way." But there are far more than these two in both Gospel and secular. "Blue Train (of the heartbreak railroad line") is probably the most requested secular and we usually close the show with it.

Cheryl:  What advice would you give to the person who dreams of becoming a bluegrass musician/singer?

Doyle:  It's not an easy thing to accomplish and one must have what I call the three P's. Practice, Patience, and Perseverance. That applies to any genre of music one undertakes. And remember the first reason to play music is for the love of the music. Money is a necessity but it should be the second reason for what one is doing. In my early days of music, I and most everyone else had day jobs to supplement our income. But the music was first.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you at this season of life?

Doyle:  My Hope and Prayer is that the way I carry myself in the public eye is pleasing to God and the folks who see me. I appreciate your prayers as well.  Thanks for taking time for me.  Blessings on you and yours.

Words are incapable of expressing my deep appreciation and gratitude to Doyle for taking time from his busy schedule to bless us with his presence here.  If you would like to learn more about Doyle Lawson and his band, Quicksilver, or purchase his music, you can find him at www.doylelawson.com and on Facebook

From left to right:  Dustin Pyrtle, Stephen Burwell, Eli Johnston, Doyle Lawson, Josh Swift, & Joe Dean

To read previous
click the links below.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Coffee Giveaway WINNER and One Other Exciting Announcement!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17

Well, today is the day!
The time has arrived!!!
 Zach just spun this handy dandy wheel to find out who won the 

And the winner is....

can I get a drum roll, please??

DOLLY from Soul Stops!!!!!

A BIG Congratulations to Dolly!
If you haven't read her blog, I strongly encourage you to stop by and visit her.
Her posts are deep and insightful and always challenge me to draw closer to Jesus.
I love Dolly and her blog!
You can find her by clicking HERE.

Dolly, please email me with your mailing information, so Matthew can get your free bag of coffee in the mail to you!

And, for the rest of you dear readers, THANK YOU for entering the giveaway.
If you didn't win, don't despair!
You can order this amazing coffee anytime by clicking HERE.

A huge THANKS to Matthew and Preslee Gooch for providing this giveaway to our readers.
God bless you both!

Now, for that other exciting announcement!
Several months ago, I was contacted by the editor of the magazine, SGNScoops, and asked to write an article for them.  That writing assignment led into being asked to write for them on a regular, more permanent basis, and I am just thrilled to now be a member of their team!
In case you'd like to read about it, HERE is the link to the announcement on their site.

Stay tuned, as I will soon be posting my latest Inner Views interview.
Without giving away the secret as to who will be featured, let me just tell you that I am over the moon excited about this one!!!
Though I treasure every interview I have ever conducted, this one holds and will forever hold a very special place in my heart. 
You will NOT want to miss it!
I am waiting for it to be published on SGNScoops first, then I will be sharing it with you here!
I can hardly wait!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Missing Those Who Are Missing This Christmas, GIVEAWAY Reminder, & A Special Recipe

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

I’ve been missing Mom and Dad an awful lot lately. Thinking of years gone by and the many loved ones who would regularly gather in our home and around our table. Experiencing a sense of nostalgia-induced melancholy. Sensing my age and all the ramifications those feelings bring to the surface. While Christmas has always been and will always be my favorite time of the year, it can also be one of the most reflective, and those reflections can create a deep sense of sadness as they vividly remind us of dear ones who are no longer here and just how much life has changed. This year, in particular, our lives and world are turned completely upside down, we find ourselves out of our element and comfort zone, and I am finding it especially difficult to find the deep sense of joy I always feel during this special time of year. Please don’t misunderstand my heart—I am deeply grateful for every, single blessing, and oh, my, I am abundantly blessed far beyond what I will ever deserve. I will never be able to thank God enough for what makes up “normal life” for my precious little family of three. Truly, the moments of sadness have nothing in the world to do with my gratitude to God for life as we know it, nor do I ever, for one second, take one blessing for granted. I’ve lived long enough to know that life can change in an instant—the way it has for so many this year.

I have several friends who have lost mothers in 2018 and are facing their first Christmas without them. Those “firsts” are the hardest. The first birthday not baking their favorite cake. The first Mother’s Day not shopping for just the perfect card. The first Christmas not seated at their table or smelling the familiar aromas of their signature home cooking wafting from an old familiar stove. Walking into their home for the first time without being greeted by the tenderness of their voice or feeling the embrace of loving arms. Seeing the table and old, familiar stove missing from their usual spot and knowing she will never stand there again to cook another meal or ask, “Are you sure had enough to eat?” Not that the “seconds” and “thirds” and all subsequent times of facing special occasions will be much easier but those “firsts” are the absolute worst.

This is Dad’s 18th Christmas in Heaven, and I still long to hear him pick up his five-string banjo, turn to me, call me by his favorite nickname of me, and say, “You feel like doin’ a little pickin’?” Oh, what I would give to hear those words coming from his voice and do that one more time! I lost my dear Mom in 2012, and I still long to pick up the phone and hear her sweet voice say, “Cheryl, the Lord gave me a Scripture for you.” I miss praying with them, singing together, having family gatherings, and enjoying the things we used to do. Those memories are made, and there will never be any more this side of Heaven. The starkness of that reality is never more pronounced than during the Christmas season each year. 

I think often of all of the military men and women who are deployed, sacrificing their lives and time with their loved ones just so you and I can stay safe.  It breaks my heart to think of how lonely they must feel at this time of year and how difficult it is for their families here at home.

If we have lived for very long at all, there’s a good chance each one of us is missing someone this Christmas, and life is full of many other reasons that can cause sadness at this joyful time of year. Marital unrest, divorce, longing for what might have been, hoping for wayward children to see the light and come home—not only to yours but to the fold of God, heartbreak, illness, the weight of the care and looming demise of elderly parents, financial distress, failure, wishing to be home and/or with faraway loved ones, hurt, betrayal, abuse, and a plethora of other causes for distress.

Christmas can be downright sad and depressing and that is just a fact of life. The fact that you are a Christian does not negate the fact that you are human. Yes, Christians do struggle with depression—just like everyone else in the world. To say we don’t or that we are exempt from the human condition is to refuse to face reality.

But, how blessed the thought to know that we do not face our battles alone. The Captain of our army is none other than Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the One who died to give us abundant life. Jesus experienced and understands depression. He knows sadness better than any of us ever will. The Bible describes Him as a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Turning to Him in our moments of despair is one of the wisest things we could ever do, for only in Him can we find the deep solace we all need.

Whatever you may be going through this Christmas, I hope you will find the strength to lift your head and look to the One from whom comes all help. He loves you so dearly. He cares about the tiniest thing that touches your life. He sees your tears, hears the times your heart silently breaks, and is aware of every moment of anguish. When no one else cares, He does. When your feelings are disregarded, you are despitefully used, and you are beyond weary in well-doing, He will rise up in your defense. He is your Champion, your Rescuer, and your Prince of Peace. He will never stop loving you, no matter what. I have to remind myself of these truths often, as my family and I face unusual challenges and new levels of required trust.

Though Christmas may be different for many of us this year, each one of our hearts can find comfort in the universal, unchanging, timeless message of what this season really means. Our Savior left Heaven to come down to this sin-defiled world because He knew that was the only way any of us would ever have hope of redemption. He was willing to pay the price for our salvation, even though it cost Him absolutely everything. Despite all, this precious, beautiful season, I find that I have never loved Him more.

This isn’t a Christmas song, but it is my favorite song by Third Day and has been such a blessing to me as I prove again and again that all I have to do is call His name, and He is there. I hope you have time to listen, and after you do, please keep reading to find an amazing recipe and special reminder about our giveaway that is soon coming to an end!  There’s still time to enter, so please, please do! I will tell you how below.

Call My Name by Third Day

Apple Dumplings

4 apples, peeled and diced
 2 sticks butter, melted
1 ½ cup sugar 
2 cans crescent rolls
1 Tbsp. cinnamon 
12 ounces of apple juice

Mix sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle some over the apples. Toss to coat the apples. Melt butter and mix in the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Roll diced apples in the triangle dough, and place in a 9x13 inch baking pan. Pour butter, cinnamon, and sugar mixture over rolls. Pour apple juice over all the rolls and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes 12.

These are AMAZING and would go great with a hot cup of coffee!!
Speaking of coffee...

Here's that COFFEE GIVEAWAY reminder!!

Matthew and Preslee Gooch of Solid Ground Coffee are giving away a bag of their new Ethiopian coffee beans! This is a $21.00 value! To enter, all you need to do is click HERE and leave a comment. We will do the drawing sometime after church this coming Sunday, 12/16/2018!! You don’t want to miss entering this. Seriously, it is my absolute favorite coffee!! Click HERE, then leave a comment for a chance to win!!!

God bless you, dear readers!