CONVERSATION: Rodney Dillard

The Dillards - 1963

The Dillards – 1963 [photo: Peter Feldmann]

I was contacted recently by a publicist for Rodney Dillard, who has released a new digital album on Pinecastle titled Old Road New Again.  Rodney’s band for the project includes the current Dillards, plus Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Herb Pederson, Ricky Scaggs, Sam Bush, and others. She asked if I had time to do an interview via the phone. I hadn’t seen Rodney for about a dozen years, so I replied “Yes . . . as long as he’s wearing a mask!”

I first saw Rodney, along with his brother Doug, at the 1963 Monterey Folk Festival. That was a major event to me, as it was the first folk music festival of its type I attended, and it was filled with many performers from the traditional part of the music, Roscoe Holcomb, Mance Lipscomb, Bill Monroe, Tom Ashley,

Clarence "Tom" Ashley

Clarence “Tom” Ashley [photo: Peter Feldmann]

and many more. Nowadays, there are bluegrass, rock, blues, Cajun and many specialty festivals, but this one, and others I attended in the early 1960s was very much all-inclusive. That was an important lesson to me in the interdependence and cross pollination of the music. So yesterday, Rodney gave me a call and we discussed the Dillards, various kinds of music, California music, Branson, quantum mechanics, and life in general. Have a listen! 🙂

1. Rodney calls. We get started.

Doug Dillard

Doug Dillard, 1963 [photo: Peter Feldmann]

2. “Folk Music” and what came after; the L.A. music scene in the 60s.


Rodney & Doug Dillard band

Rodney & Doug Dillard band, Goleta CA 2007 [photo: Peter Feldmann]

3. Rodney tells of his arranging skills, keeping the band going with an array of personnel , work in Branson, his reunion with Doug, and digital recording problems.

TV Test








4. The Television experience: Andy Griffith Show, Judy Garland (!), Johnny Cash show appearances and show biz experiences.

The Dillards, Monterey 1963

The Dillards, Monterey 1963 L-R: Rodney, Doug, Mitch Jayne, Dean Webb, plus Roscoe Holcomb & Roger Bush. [photo: Peter Feldmann]

Thanks, everyone, for listening! Please consider making a donation to help us in producing more pages like this. 

-Peter Feldmann

About Peter Feldmann

Peter Feldmann has long been a musical mainstay in Santa Barbara and Southern California. Besides actively performing bluegrass and old time music with a variety of groups, Peter is also known as a bluegrass historian, collector, music consultant, teacher, and producer, both of live concerts and radio/tv programs throughout the area. His music has been heard in clubs, concerts, saloons, universities, pre-schools, at weddings, wakes, parties, barn-raisings, calf-ropings, rodeos, auctions, fund raisers, wine tastings and chili cook offs. Peter founded Santa Barbara's Old Time Fiddler's Convention (1972), UCSB's Old Time Music Front (1964), and The Bluebird Cafe (1971). Through these and other outlets, he was the first to bring many prominent folk, blues, and bluegrass artists, including Bill Monroe, Mance Lipscomb, The Stanley Brothers, The New Lost City Ramblers, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Rose Maddox, the Balfa Brothers, and many others to the Santa Barbara area. Peter also helped others access the music by teaching privately, and in group classes for Santa Barbara Continuing Education, UCSB Extension, and McCabes Guitars. He was the first on the West Coast to produce and market instruction Lps - three on How To Play Country Fiddle, and one each on Clawhammer Banjo, and Maybelle Carter Style Guitar. He still presents lectures on country music history at UCSB, Santa Barbara area libraries, and for various interest groups, festival workshops, etc. In 2006, he presented his monograph titled "The Big bang Of Bluegrass Music" (describing the origins of bluegrass 1938 - 1946) to the worlds first International Music Symposium at the University of Kentucky at Bowling Green. He has also been very active in radio, television, and film work, producing weekly shows on country and bluegrass music over a 21 year period on various commercial and public stations. Peter currently maintains three music-related websites, a music blog, and an entertainment service company, "BlueGrass West!", based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California. Peter performs tunes and songs from the heart of America's musical treasure chest. His shows can include fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Well-known as a historian and teacher, Peter is first and foremost an entertainer, sharing his respect, energy and love for the music with his fellow musicians, friends, and audiences.
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