Jerry Douglas performs with Mumford recently

November 8, 2012

Session star: Jerry Douglas in Westbrook

He's played with everyone from Ray Charles to George Jones, and from Phish to Mumford & Sons.

By Ray Routhier
Staff Writer

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Jerry Douglas has fashioned a nearly 40-year music career that defies easy categorization.

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WHERE: Westbrook Performing Arts Center, 471 Stroudwater Road

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday



IN ADDITION TO recording as a solo artist and as a member of various bands, Jerry Douglas has played as a session musician on hundreds of albums. Here's a brief sampling of other artists' work on which he appears:

2012: "Babel" by Mumford & Sons

2010: "Let It Be Me" by Johnny Mathis

2009: "Some Assembly Required" by Assembly of Dust

2007: "It's Not Big It's Large" by Lyle Lovett

2006: "Like Red on a Rose" by Alan Jackson

2005: "My Very Special Guests" by George Jones

2004: "Deja Vu All Over Again" by John Fogerty

2003: "Red Dirt Road" by Brooks & Dunn

2000: "Farmhouse" by Phish

1997: "Behind the Eyes" by Amy Grant

1994: "Picture Perfect Morning" by Edie Brickell

1994: "Take Me As I Am" by Faith Hill

1992: "Play Me Backwards" by Joan Baez

1991: "New Moon Shine" by James Taylor

1991: "Ropin' the Wind" by Garth Brooks

1990: "The Rhythm of the Saints" by Paul Simon

1989: "White Limozeen" by Dolly Parton

1988: "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle

1988: "Portrait" by Doc Watson

1984: "Friendship" by Ray Charles

Douglas knows first-hand the influence an older musician can have on a younger one. In his case it was his father, a guitar player from West Virginia who moved to the Youngstown, Ohio, area to work in the steel mills.

Although he worked in the mill by day, Douglas' father had a fairly successful band by night and on weekends. The house was always filled with old country and bluegrass music.

"He wouldn't let me play his guitar, so he got me one from Sears. But by the time I was 10 or so, I was playing the dobro," said Douglas.

Douglas saw many country music stars of the day -- Loretta Lynn, Ernest Tubb, George Jones -- who played near his home. He also listened to rock stations out of Cleveland, and says he's glad he has a variety of musical styles in his background. It's certainly helped him with all the different styles of music he's played as a session musician over they years.

"I'm glad I have the bluegrass background, because it's a very physical music with a lot of improvisation," said Douglas. "So it's easier to go from bluegrass into rock than the other way around."

As soon as he graduated high school, Douglas left home to play in other people's bands -- first in Washington, D.C., then in Kentucky, and finally, in Nashville.

He sometimes regrets about not having a college education. But he realizes the road he's followed was the right one for him.

"I knew I was a good enough musician to do this," he said, "and I just followed my gut on every musical move I've made."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

Twitter: RayRouthier


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