SLIDE PERFORMANCE > Jerry Douglas - Jerry treats us to a Dobro Masterclass
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Jerry Douglas
Jerry Douglas (born Gerald Calvin Douglas, May 28, 1956 in Warren, Ohio) is an American record producer and resonator guitar player. Called "Dobro's matchless contemporary master," by The New York Times, and lauded as "my favorite musician" by John Fogerty, Douglas is one of the world’s most renowned Dobro players.

In addition to his twelve solo recordings, Douglas has played on more than 1600 albums. As a sideman, he has recorded with artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Phish, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello, and Johnny Mathis, as well as performing on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. He has been part of such notable groups as The Whites, J. D. Crowe and the New South, The Country Gentlemen, and Strength in Numbers.

As a producer, he has overseen albums by Alison Krauss, the Del McCoury Band, Maura O'Connell, Jesse Winchester and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Along with Aly Bain, he serves as Music Director of the popular BBC Television series, "Transatlantic Sessions".

Since 1998, Douglas has been a key member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, touring extensively and playing on a series of platinum-selling albums. When not on the road with Alison Krauss and Union Station, Douglas tours with his band in support of his extensive body of work.

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Jerry Douglas, started his professional career when he was sixteen, the son of a steelworker, living in Warren, Ohio, and playing his instrument of choice, the Dobro, in bars. His most clearly audible source is bluegrass—the genre in which he started and over which he now presides. He has also conscripted and deployed: jazz, with its imperative to improvise; the raw emotion and twang of country music; the plaintive ragas of Indian sitars; Native American modal melodies; the sonata-allegro structures of classical music; Hawaiian music, with its sunny harmonies and marine swells; the note-packed virtuosities of Celtic tunes; woebegone New Orleans funeral marches; Dixieland's brassiness; gospel; and the blues.
Two constants pervade Douglas's performances and compositions, and they are, as he has said in a recent conversation, “in some tension.” These creatively conflicting constants underlie all of the arts; one is discipline and the other is playfulness. “I always try to stay loose when I perform and when I record,” he says, “but I always worry that if I get too far away from the main idea, the whole thing will fall apart.” He wants his audience to embrace this paradox as well. “I want the music I play to be challenging, but I don't want it to sound that way.” We start “messing around” randomly when we're young children, and in many ways to grow up is to become more orderly, but in the course of that process we often tend to lose the delight of messing around.
Successful art—and, in particular, music of any real texture—picks up what's lying around, musically and otherwise, and creates designs from it and then leads us back through and by means of formal design to a kind of exalted play, in which order is at once questioned and maintained. It's no accident that the same simple verb play, applies to musical instruments and to games.

Jerry Douglas lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and four children.

With thanks to JerryDouglas.com and Wikipedia.

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