Last week, my personal management client and 3-time GRAMMY-winner - and more importantly, my Native brother - Bill Miller was admitted to a Nashville hospital, and subsequently rushed into surgery to address what medical personnel found to be multiple blood clots around his heart, lungs, and leg. While I've remained close to his hospital bed navigating the many issues involving his hospitalization, it has been a blessing to see so many of his fans and friends around the world pour out their thoughtful prayers, kind words, and gifts in support of this man who is truly an American treasure.
As a response to the great many who have reached out to offer their support in his time of need, I have created a GoFundMe campaign to assist with what will surely be an exhaustive amount of aftercare expenses when Bill is released from the hospital. Please visit the campaign page below and join others around the world in channeling back some of the healing that Bill has provided through his music and live performances to millions of people.
Many thanks and blessings, in advance,
Music luminary, Don Henley, has been fielding tons of print, radio, and television interviews to promote his latest release, Cass County, and I am honored and proud to report he's also one hell of a super fan of the super group I manage and produce: The Dillards.
While noting his intention to explore his musical roots and inspiration with the new album's works - which also features many other artists who were directly influenced by The Dillards: Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Dixie Chicks, et al - Henley continues to highly regard Rodney Dillard and The Dillards, citing the legendary bluegrass group as a major influence in his musical direction, and also that of his mothership band, The Eagles.
...the Dillards did it first. That first album — the Dillards’ album called Wheatstraw Suite, which came out in 1968 — was as a very influential album in my life … as was Jesse Winchester’s first album. I was a big fan of the Dillards. In fact, I drove through a snowstorm to hear them play in Fort Worth back in 1968. … I just thought it was the most interesting song and they were an interesting band.
Really excited to be a part of the production team behind the long-awaited album from legendary bluegrass super group The Dillards! It is truly a passion-driven project, and I'm honored to work with Rodney Dillard - the man Rolling Stone magazine hails as "The Father of Modern Bluegrass and Rock Music".
It started from a statement I made to Rodney, saying "I want to take a reinvigorated Dillards brand to the doorstep of every man, woman, and child on the earth in the way they individually receive information: digital distribution to wireless devices and streaming services, in addition to the traditional brick and mortar outlets, satellite and terrestrial radio, and television broadcasts which have been the standard for years."
Step One, of course, was having content.
After a few attempts to "jell" with a couple of Nashville producers of varying notoriety and skills, I encouraged Rodney to connect on our mutual behalf with an engineer who had expressed a desire to someday work with Rodney during a backstage conversation the two had when Rodney and The Dillards were being inducted into the International Bluegrass Association (IBMA) Hall of Fame a while back. 1680Entertainment hired the engineer, engaging him to also produce the album.
And here I am - writing this first blog entry sitting in the studio, while guitar virtuoso Anthony Wray is delivering a smoking banjo solo...
Here are some excerpts from The Dillards' brand-spankin'-new EPK for your enjoyment:
The Dillards 2015
Rodney Dillard – music history legend, recording artist, and speaking talent – is overwhelmingly credited as the “father of modern bluegrass.” Most recognized for his contributions to the world music stage with the band he founded with his brother Douglas – The Dillards – Rodney Dillard remains a significant figure in the fabric of the American Music tapestry.
Noted as being the first bluegrass ensemble to introduce electric instruments in the mid-1960s, they are considered to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning Southern California Folk Rock, Country Rock and Progressive Bluegrass genres, and are credited with directly influencing artists such as The Eagles, The Byrds, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Elton John, and scores of other well-known acts of the last fifty years. In 1972, Elton John cited The Dillards as his “musical inspiration,” actually requesting the band’s addition to the bill during John’s first U.S. tour.
Rodney Dillard and The Dillards band cemented their place in American popular culture performing musically as members of the fictional “Darling” family on multiple seasons of The Andy Griffith Show, introducing bluegrass music to the vast majority of Americans and audiences around the world who had never heard it.
Today, Rodney Dillard and his wife, noted clawhammer-style banjo artist Beverly Cotten-Dillard, continue to blaze new paths on the world music scene with his unique brand of “DILLARDGRASS,” having recently reunited with fellow Dillards band alum and noted multi-instrumentalist, Jeff Gilkinson. Other Dillards personnel include: noted bluegrass guitar and banjo authority, Tony Wray; double bassist Gary J. Smith; champion fiddle player and mandolin ace, George Giddens; with Ken Lingad handling the rhythm duties, playing drum set, electronic drum loops, and hand/foot percussion.
With over twenty albums as a recording artist, multiple single cuts, two Grammy nominations, and the syndicated longevity of his stint on the Andy Griffith Show, Dillard is currently finishing the long-anticipated new album – a full-length tour de force Executive Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Artists Manager Ken Lingad for 1680Entertainment, and a handpicked musical posse of the hottest talents.
Look for The Dillards on their upcoming 2016 world tour in support of their forthcoming full-length album release, tentatively titled The Dillards - Old Road New Again.
Rodney Dillard, Beverly Cotten-Dillard, and The Dillards are professionally managed worldwide by Ken Lingad for 1680 Entertainment.
ABOUT THE NEW DILLARDS ALBUM
Overwhelmingly recognized as the “father of modern bluegrass,” Rodney Dillard is currently putting the finishing touches on the album his worldwide fans have demanded for decades. Tentatively and simply titled The Dillards, the new release will feature the signature sound that Rodney Dillard is known for crafting.
Executive Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Artists Manager Ken Lingad for 1680Entertainment, the album will feature 12 brand-new tracks cut by The Dillards and a handpicked musical posse of the hottest talents. The music is best described as a “genre-defying combination of the signature ‘Dillards Sound’ and fresh explorations in Americana.” Loyal fans of the legendary group will have their appetites thoroughly satisfied by several bluegrass “burners,” while new listeners will fall in love with The Dillards’ diverse sonic palette.
The rest, as they say, is history – actually, Rodney Dillard and The Dilllards have already made history. Now they’re doing it…again.