Patuxent CD-322 Donnie Scott - Donnie Dobro's Ride
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A resident of Mount Airy, North Carolina, Donnie lives at “ground zero” for old-time and bluegrass music. The area is surrounded by numerous annual fiddler’s conventions and Donnie routinely competes on dobro in the contests. Over the years Donnie has won every dobro finishing position at the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, 1st through 9th.
Donnie is a popular raconteur who loves music and travel, loves to talk, and is not afraid of social media. He wrote a book with his wife Barbara about his travels several years back. His musings on social media sometimes tackle touchy subjects but in a way that makes one laugh out loud or smile or think. It is obvious after knowing Donnie for a while that the big bearded man in the Roundhouse overalls, florescent yellow tee, straw hat, and the dobro around his neck is very smart.
Donnie counts Mike Auldridge as one of his major influences and jammed with the great artist one time. As with many bluegrass dobro players, Uncle Josh Graves also guided the way for Donnie. “Josh was my first dobro hero – the one who made me want to play dobro,” says Donnie. Jerry Douglas and Shot Jackson are Donnie’s other acknowledged influences.
“Most of the people on this record I’ve known since they were children,” says Donnie. Donnie met Tom Mindte in 1979 at a Myrtle Beach festival. They connected over a mutual love of “those old morbid graveyard songs.” They reconnected at Ralph Stanley’s Hills of Home in the 1980s and have played together casually and at convention contests for years.
Sisters Mary Dunlap and Elizabeth Baker, otherwise known as members of the trio The Fly Birds, guested as vocalists. Elizabeth’s was the sultry voice on The Romany Rye and both sang the duet on “The End of Memory Lane.” Elizabeth also contributed the clawhammer banjo on “Green Pastures of Plenty.”
Taylor Baker, Elizabeth’s husband, played all the mandolin on the album. Donnie says Taylor’s mandolin playing is “the most emotional and musical I’ve ever heard.”
Brennen Ernst plays all the guitar on this album. Donnie says, “I have a thing about rhythm guitar, and Brennen is the best rhythm guitar player I know of at this time.” Brennen is a master of many instruments and music styles, but many may know him as the current banjo picker with Karl Shiflett.
Donnie is effusive about Mark Delaney. “Mark is a human metronome and has the rare ability to play appropriately for any song he is playing. For Mark it just comes naturally.” Mark is well-known for his current long-term stint with Danny Paisley and other super bands in the DC area earlier.
Mason Via has his hand in several genres, but when he sings traditional bluegrass he is raw, accurate, and emotive. He is one of the finest singers in bluegrass today.
Donnie had two of the hot young fiddlers on this album. Donnie has known Nate Leath since he was a nine years old and has watched him grow into a consummate fiddler of bluegrass, old-time, and other genres. Casey Driscoll, an outstanding young Nashville-based fiddler with old-time, Texas-style, and swing jazz roots, took turns with Nate on lead and twinning.
Floyd Virginia native Ben Silcox and North Carolinian Fred Mock shared the duties on bass for the album. Ben’s virtuosity can best be heard on his solo on “St. Louis Blues.” Fred, long-time bassist for Donnie’s and Barbara’s musical projects, demonstrates his swing chops on “Right or Wrong.”
While Donnie thinks this album could be his last because of Father Time, his fans certainly hope not. Regardless, expect him to be a fiddler’s convention stalwart at his famous “Camp Cigar” for the foreseeable future, and enjoy this snapshot in time of his artistry.