An Evening With The Dillards

The Dillards

The Grey Eagle is proud to host the legendary Rodney Dillard and The Dillards, a group well-known to North Carolinians everywhere. The Dillards became the most recognizable bluegrass band in history due to their appearances on The Andy Griffith Show (portraying “The Darlings”). Even to this day, over 50 years later, The Dillards are seen on television nearly every single day somewhere in the world thanks to reruns.

Later, The Dillards helped create an entirely new music genre, “Country Rock,” and hundreds of artists including Elton John, The Eagles, John Paul Jones, Don Henley, Phish, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, John McEuen, The Avett Brothers, Sam Bush, and Steve Martin have credited The Dillards as formative influences.

This is your chance to see Bluegrass Hall of Famer and multiple Grammy-nominee Rodney Dillard perform live (he is the last Dillard standing) and The Dillards are excited to finally return to Asheville and to take The Grey Eagle stage. The Dillards put on a show like no other and we hope to see you for a night celebrating a living legend with a hot band ready to roll, including a special guest for the evening – Tony Wray (tours with Dan Tyminski and also his own band, Blue Mafia).

Tickets will sell quickly – see you there!

The Dillards got their start in Missouri, with brothers Doug and Rodney Dillard joining up with the late John Hartford. The three boys would play shows and jam sessions all over the St. Louis, Missouri area and these early experiences helped lead Doug and Rodney to join up with Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne to form The Dillards.

The Dillards knew they better head to Los Angeles if they wanted to make it big and so they scheduled their first “professional” show at Washington University in St. Louis (1962). The show was a hit (and was actually released as an album) and the band took off for California.

In California the boys played at the legendary Ash Grove club and were scouted and signed by Elektra Records. Around this time Andy Griffith had been searching for a “mountain family” for his show, and The Dillards were asked to audition and of course were cast as The Darlings. The Darlings appeared in six episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and many fans of the show recall those episodes as some of their very favorites.

Appearing on The Andy Griffith Show was a huge boon to The Dillards’ career. For starters, Andy Griffith allowed and encouraged the boys to write and perform their own original music on the show. These songs that were written became bluegrass standards that nearly every bluegrass band can perform, songs such as “Dooley,” “There is a Time,” and “Ebo Walker.” Additionally, because The Andy Griffith Show is consistently named as the number one television show of all time then literally millions of people have seen The Dillards and can identify their faces and their music. In the early 60s, bluegrass was a fairly regional music genre, but The Dillards helped bring bluegrass into mainstream America (via Andy Griffith) and the group was inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

After Andy Griffith, Doug Dillard left The Dillards to embark on a solo career. Already one of the most talented banjo players in the world, Doug teamed up with The Byrds and later Gene Clark to form Dillard & Clark. Doug wrote music for movies, television shows, and his own bands for many years and he passed away as a legend in the music industry.

Rodney had a different vision for The Dillards and he ended up helping to create a brand new music genre, “Country Rock.” The Dillards were among the very first bluegrass groups to incorporate drums and the band was also among the first to plug in traditionally acoustic instruments such as the banjo and mandolin. Rodney would also layer vocal tracks so that 3-4 voices would sound like a full orchestra (commonplace today but not in the early 60s) and The Dillards would cover popular artists like The Beatles and Bob Dylan (again, everyone does covers today but not as much in the early 60s and certainly not cross-genre covers).

Dillards albums such as Wheatstraw Suite and Copperfields changed the music industry so much that they are cited today as absolutely foundational to an understanding of how “old-time” music flowed into bluegrass then folk and now into pop culture, so that bands such as Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Avett Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Mumford & Sons, and others regularly perform to thousands of people and yet are difficult to categorize.

What happened is that The Dillards helped make it acceptable for artists to appeal to a larger, cross-genre audience. Before, artists would typically need to stick to country, or bluegrass, or folk, but what The Dillards (and others) did was focus on creating art, not trying to stick with a certain genre.

Mitch Jayne grew into one of the finest writers and humorists to have lived, and Dean Webb was a master arranger and mandolin player who helped arrange hits for bands such as The Byrds. Of the original Dillards, Rodney is the last Dillard standing and is proud to carry on the legacy of game-changing music. Rodney is twice Grammy-nominated and is known throughout the industry as the elder statesman who is excited to see trailblazers succeed. Rodney was just recently in the studio with Don Henley, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Bernie Leadon, The Whites, Herb Pedersen, and many more, working on brand new music that will carry on that famous Dillard sound.

For an extremely in-depth Dillards bio, visit Visit for booking information and to purchase official Dillards products.

Elton John: “The Dillards did an album called ‘Wheatstraw Suite,’ which is one of my favorite albums. It was mostly Beatles songs, and the first thing I did when I came to America was go and see them.” NOTE: Elton John would go on to book Rodney Dillard and The Dillards as his opening band on his very first North American tour.

John Paul Jones: “The Dillards had an album called ‘Backporch Bluegrass’ and this album inspired me to pick up the mandolin.”

John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band co-founder): “Without The Dillards’ early inspiration and influence, I would not have taken such an interest in music. In fact, there would not have been a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with me in it, and without that bluegrass influence directly from The Dillards then there would not have been a ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken’ album.” NOTE: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band featured Rodney Dillard on their “Will the Circle be Unbroken III” album.


Rodney Dillard – Lead Vocals, Guitar
George Giddens – Fiddle/Mandolin
Cory Walker – Guitar, Banjo
Gary Smith – String Bass
Beverly Dillard – Clawhammer Banjo, Vocals

$22.00 - $32.00



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