Jack Lawrence joins Aer Stephen on Folk & Beyond
Thursday, January 13, 6:00 PM.
Aer Stephen welcomes long time Doc Watson Sideman, Jack Lawrence,
for a special conversation and music Thursday, January 13, at 6:00 PM
on Folk & Beyond. Jack will be appearing in Charlottesville on
Wednesday, January 19, at the Gravity Lounge.
About Jack Lawrence:
Jack Lawrence has been called a "flatpicking powerhouse." His recordings
and performances combine exciting, high spirited and innovative guitar
solos with tasteful phrasing in his own inventive style. Well known as Doc Watson's partner since the early 1980's, Jack's inspired playing and smooth
vocals provide listeners with performances that span musical traditions. Jack grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and his musical odyssey began at age
ten when his father took a job as sound engineer for a local music hall.
Backstage at the Lake Norman Music Hall, Jack had access to many of the
top acts in the Country, Bluegrass and Gospel fields as well as the local
R'n'B bands. As a youngster, Jack took this opportunity to meet and learn
from some of the finest players in the business. Performers of the day
such as Buck Owens, Don Rich, Bill Monroe, Leon Rhodes, George Shuffler,
and Flatt and Scruggs exposed Jack to a variety of styles emerging in the
1950's and 60's. From these early experiences, Jack developed his own
talents and found his major influences to be Doc Watson, Clarence White
and Django Reinhardt. By the late 1960's, Lawrence was playing in local
Folk and Bluegrass groups and soaking up as much music on the professional
level as possible. An after school job with luthier C.E. Ward in Charlotte
proved a tremendous learning ground for the sixteen-year-old. Through Ward's
association with Bluegrass Gospel legend Carl Story, Jack started doing
guest spots on Carl's TV show and making other public appearances. In 1971,
three days after his high school graduation, Lawrence set out on his
Jack's professional experiences over the next several years provided
a wealth of opportunity and associations that continue to fuel his talents
today. In the fall of 1971, Lawrence joined one of the pioneer bands of modern bluegrass, The New Deal String Band. Within months, he was off to
Louisville, Kentucky to join forces with The Bluegrass Alliance.
After a second stint with the New Deal String Band, Jack spent
several years honing the electric guitar playing in rock and country
bands. In 1978, Jack tired of the rock scene and he teamed with Joe
Smothers in a relaxed folk duo. Smothers and Lawrence successfully
toured and recorded throughout the country in the 1970's and 80's.
Through Joe, Jack met Doc and Merle Watson and he began to tour
with Doc in 1983 as Merle pursued other interests. Since that time,
Jack has been playing side-by-side with Doc and the opportunity to
partner with one of his most important musical influences has been
an infinitely rewarding experience. Over the years, the two musicians
have developed a brilliant guitar partnership, capitalizing on both
their strengths. Lawrence tours extensively with Watson and also as
a solo artist throughout the US and Europe. Jack's talents are
featured on many of Doc's recordings, including the Grammy winner
"On Praying Ground." The solo project "About Time," released in
1997, showcases Jack's amazing guitar style and rich, warm vocals.
In 2001, he assembled some of the friends he most admires for an
exciting recording project. These sessions resulted in the April
2002 release of "I Don't Need The Whiskey Anymore" featuring Sam
Bush, Jerry Douglas, Tony Williamson, The Del McCoury Band and,
of course, his old friend and partner, Doc Watson. Running the
gamut from "Honky-Tonk Bluegrass" to "Gut Bucket Blues," this
recording documents Jack's musical influences such as Doc,
Mississippi John Hurt, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs and the Allman Brothers.