When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main St. SW, Gainesville
How much: $14
More info: 770-534-8420
Doyle Lawson grew up listening to four-part harmonies and memorizing gospel tunes before he even realized what he was learning.
His father performed as part of a local a capella group that played around the small Tennessee town where Lawson grew up, and even today, Lawson says, that classic gospel sound soaks through the music he continues to make today.
Lawson will be performing Saturday night at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville. He is an award-winning gospel and bluegrass artist who has decades of experience under his belt.
And it’s that early experience tagging along to his father’s concerts at local churches that you can still hear today in his music.
“The influence that gospel music had on me has stayed with me my whole life,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I learned to love the harmonies the quartet would pull together.”
Lawson taught himself how to play the mandolin at around age 12, and then taught himself the banjo and guitar, too. By age 18 he was in Nashville, Tenn., playing with Jimmy Martin and other artists.
But after kicking around in different bands for more than a decade, Lawson decided it was time to find his own sound, and put together a band to do just that.
“When I broke away from the other group and started my own, one of the things I wanted to focus on was I wanted to have a quartet, and it worked,” he said. “The people really took to it. I was introducing songs to the bluegrass world; it set me apart from the other people, which is what you try to do.”
It was a tricky line to tread, though, since he wanted the band to be different enough to keep audiences guessing, but also stay true to the traditions of the music.
This weekend’s show comes just a few days after Lawson and his band, Quicksilver, celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band’s founding. And all these years later, Lawson said he wouldn’t do anything different.
“I think God has a master plan for me. ... I think it unfolded just the way the good Lord intended it to be,” he said.
He counts his blessings not in venues played or albums recorded, but in the everyday stories audience members tell him.
“They’ll tell me they played a certain song at their parent’s funeral. I’ve had people tell me they came to Jesus with a certain song we sang,” he said. “People tell you that, even though I didn’t realize it, I had a part in bringing them to Christ.
“The encores are nice, but we’re talking about something that lasts for eternity.”