In 1963, at age 18 or 19, Lawson went to Nashville to play the banjo with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys.
In 1966, he started playing with J.D. Crowe and the Kentucky Mountain Boys (later called the New South) in Lexington, Kentucky. He returned to play the mandolin and sing tenor with Martin in 1969 for six months, and then played again with Crowe until August 1971.
In September, 1971, Lawson started playing with The Country Gentlemen and remained part of the band for almost eight years. During that time, in 1977, he backed up U.S. Senator Robert Byrd on his Mountain Fiddler album. In March 1979 when Lawson left the Country Gentlemen with the intention of forming a band and creating his own sound.
Within a month Lawson had formed Doyle Lawson and Foxfire, with Jimmy Haley on guitar, Lou Reid on bass, and Terry Baucom on banjo. The band name was soon changed to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. In 1981, through Sugar Hill Records, Lawson with this lineup released the critically acclaimed Rock My Soul, an album that would become a landmark bluegrass gospel project. With a new bassist, Randy Graham, the band recorded a second gospel album, Heavenly Treasures, also on Sugar Hill.
Shortly thereafter, Graham, Baucom and Haley left to form their own band. Lawson hired guitarist Russell Moore, banjoist Scott Vestal and bassist Curtis Vestal, and continued to perform. After a time Ray Deaton took over on bass.
In 1989 the band won song of the year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards for "Little Mountain Church House". In 1997, "There's a Light Guiding Me" was a 39th Annual Grammy Award nominee for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album. Through the years, Quicksilver toured regularly, performing at festivals concerts and other musical events.
In 1998, Lawson and Quicksilver became the first bluegrass band to perform at the National Quartet Convention. Lawson and Quicksilver performed in Ontario, Canada at the Tottenham Bluegrass Festival in June 2001 and again in June 2015. Lawson and Quicksilver provided the background vocals to the song "Dazzling Blue" on Paul Simon's 2011 album "So Beautiful or So What". In 2015, "In Session" was nominated for Best Bluegrass Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on stage at the 2015 Tottenham Bluegrass Festival in Ontario, Canada
Lawson composed a number of the band's songs and tunes. His instrumental piece, "Rosine," is a tribute to Monroe's birthplace and features, among other things, strains from the singer's 1967 instrumental "Kentucky Mandolin". Lawson hosts the annual Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver Festival in Denton, North Carolina.
With nearly 40 albums to their credit, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA and SPBGMA Award nominations, and are 7-time winners of IBMA’s Vocal Group of the Year.
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