Internationally recognized as the world’s most renowned dobro player, Jerry Douglas ranks among the top contemporary artists in American music. He has earned 13 Grammy Awards, he was the 2004 recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA, and he has received numerous awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association - including a 2012 nomination for Dobro Player of the Year, a title he has earned eight times in years past - among many other accolades. In 2011, Douglas received the Annual Americana Honors and Awards coveted Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist, a top honor shared in previous years by such luminaries such as Ry Coder, Sam Bush, Larry Campbell, Greg Leisz. Earlier this year, Douglas released his 14th solo album, Traveler.
Joining Douglas (vocals, dobro, lapsteel) for this show will be Luke Bulla (violin, vocals), Josh Hunt (drums), and Victor Krauss (bass). Krauss is featured on two Traveler tracks, "So Here We Are" and "Gone to Fortingall," original instrumental compositions that grew from Douglas' collaboration with Krauss and others.
In addition to being widely known as the foremost master of the dobro, Douglas is a freewheeling, forward-thinking recording artist whose output incorporates elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues, and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.
Called "dobro's matchless contemporary master," by The New York Times, this decorated musician is one of the most innovative recording artists in music, both as a solo artist and as a member of groundbreaking bands including J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Country Gentlemen, Boone Creek, and Strength In Numbers. In addition to his 14 solo albums, Douglas’ distinctive sound graces more than 2000 albums, including discs released by Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, Ray Charles, Mumford & Sons, Keb' Mo', Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello, and many others. And Douglas was one of the featured performers on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and its spinoff live disc Down from the Mountain.
Since 1998, he has been a key member of Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, touring extensively, co-producing and playing on a series of platinum albums. Their latest album, Paper Airplane, was released in April 2011 on Rounder Records. As a producer, Douglas has overseen albums by Krauss, the Del McCoury Band, Maura O'Connell, Jesse Winchester, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Along with Aly Bain, he serves as co-Music Director of the popular BBC Television series Transatlantic Sessions.
Douglas' newest solo album, Traveler, is Douglas' first new album in three years, and the first he has done with an outside producer (Russ Titelman). Traveler is also the first album to feature Douglas as the lead vocalist (he sings Leadbelly's "On a Monday" to open the album).
Douglas has been named “Musician of the Year” by The Country Music Association (2002, 2005, 2007), The Academy of Country Music (11 times), and The Americana Music Association (2002, 2003), and he has received 18 International Bluegrass Music Association awards for both his instrumental performance work and his recorded works.
The Ohio-born Douglas began playing Dobro at the age of eight, after his father—a steelworker who played bluegrass in his spare time—brought him to a Flatt and Scruggs concert, where he was entranced by the sound of dobro player Josh Graves. After playing with his dad's group, the West Virginia Travelers, for several years, a 17-year-old Douglas joined the pioneering progressive-bluegrass band the Country Gentlemen in 1973. Two years later, he became a member of the seminal J.D. Crowe and the New South, which also included future solo stars Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice. In 1976, Douglas and Skaggs co-founded the now-legendary bluegrass combo Boone Creek.
In 1979, Douglas launched his solo career with his LP Fluxology, and he became a full-time member of the beloved family country group the Whites. By the time he left the Whites in 1985, Douglas was Nashville's most in-demand session dobro player. At the same time, he continued to develop his blossoming solo career with a series of acclaimed and influential albums. In the late '80s, he formed the acoustic supergroup Strength in Numbers with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor. He also continued to collaborate on forward-looking recording projects such as 1994's Grammy-winning all-star The Great Dobro Sessions and 1996's genre-bending experiment Bourbon and Rosewater, with bassist Edgar Meyer and Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.
In the late 1990s, Douglas chose to abandon his lucrative Nashville session career in order to concentrate on more creatively satisfying musical pursuits. At around the same time, Alison Krauss asked him to fill in on a Union Station tour. Those shows went so well that the association became a permanent one. Since then, Douglas has balanced his work with Union Station with his ongoing solo career while continuing to find time for a variety of collaborative projects, including the tribute album Southern Filibuster: The Songs of Tut Taylor and his ongoing work on Transatlantic Sessions, which teams American roots musicians and singers with their Celtic counterparts.
Douglas also wrote the score for the film Get Low (starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek) with Jan A.P. Kaczmarek; he also wrote additional music for the film.
Luke Bulla has been singing and playing music most of his life. Touring with and singing in his family band from age four, he took up the fiddle at seven. Over the course of the next few years, he won the National Fiddle Contest (in Weiser, Idaho) six times in his respective age categories. His seventh win came in the Grand Champion division at age 16, making him the youngest to have earned that title at the time. Entering Nashville's Grand Masters Fiddle Contest at age 10, Bulla distinguished himself by being the youngest person to have made the top ten.
In the spring of 1999, Bulla moved to Nashville to establish himself as a full time musician. He spent his early years in Tennessee playing fiddle in Ricky Skaggs's band, Kentucky Thunder. Following the Skaggs stint, Bulla became a member of the John Cowan Band. More recently Luke has performed with Jim Lauderdale, Darrell Scott, Steve Wariner, Sean Watkins, Sara Watkins, Chris Thile, Glen Phillips and Earl Scruggs, and WPA, to name a few.
Bulla is a perennial instructor at Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Camps. He and long-time friend Casey Driessen founded the band Wisechild, who toured briefly with John Mayer and the Counting Crows. In addition to violin, Bulla plays guitar, sings, and writes songs. He is currently working on material for a solo project.
Eclectic composer and double bassist Viktor Krauss was born in Champaign, IL, in 1969. His youth was spent listening to soundtracks and instrumental music, eventually leading him to the piano and trumpet. After witnessing the power and girth of the double bass at a middle school concert, the budding musician began looking outside of the traditional music programs offered by the public school system. He soon played with local jazz groups and accompanying others. In high school, Krauss explored the worlds of rock, soul, and R&B and began to write material that shared these new influences, eventually leading to the study of bass, voice, electronic, and tape music at the University of Illinois.
In 1992, Viktor joined progressive bluegrass pioneer Peter Rowan's Free Mexican Airforce group, where he found himself playing for Mountain Stage and Prairie Home Companion. After his tenure with Rowan, he began 16 years of work with Lyle Lovett, touring and recording with the country icon, including contributing to recordings such as My Baby Don’t Tolerate, Step Inside This House, and the latest Natural Forces. In 1995, Viktor started a long recording and touring collaboration with Bill Frisell. Such recordings with Frisell include Nashville, Gone, Just Like a Train, Floratone, East/West, Good Dog, Happy Man, Disfarmer, and The Sweetest Punch. Viktor has also been seen on stage with artists such as Carly Simon, Shelby Lynne, Chet Atkins, Larry Carlton, The Chieftains, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jewel, Melinda Doolittle, and most recently a trio consisting of himself, Douglas, and Hakim.
In between, he managed to find the time to contribute bass, guitar and/or keyboard instruments to countless recordings by the likes of Bill Frisell, Jerry Douglas, Joan Baez, Indigo Girls, Dolly Parton, Graham Nash, Michael McDonald, John Fogerty, and Alison Krauss. With credits for producing, composing, recording, and touring, Viktor finally found the time to record his solo debut, Far From Enough. Featuring an all-star band consisting of Frisell, Douglas, Steve Jordan, and sister Alison, it was released in February 2004, and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard® Contemporary Jazz Chart. Krauss' second album, II , which featured core band Dean Parks and Matt Chamberlain and appearances by Shawn Colvin, Ben Taylor, and Lovett as well as a cover of Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond," emerged three years later.
The song “Lie Awake” by Viktor, co-written with singer-songwriter Angel Snow, is on Alison Krauss + Union Station's latest album, Paper Airplane. Two additional songs (“A Place Outside” and “These Days”) also penned by Krauss and Snow will appear on special editions of Paper Airplane.