I’ve had the good fortune of seeing dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas perform live a few times together with Alison Krauss and Union Station. Douglas is an amazing and inventive instruementalist. Even discounting for the somewhat cult audience that attends to bluegrass music, however, Douglas has achieved far greater recognition among his fellow musicians than among the music audience at large.
“We Hide and Seek” is the beautiful bluegrassy instrumental composition by Douglas performed in the video above. After Alison Krauss recruited Douglas into her Union Station lineup she inserted the song into her live set, where I first heard it. In the video above Douglas leads an all-star band including the late Roy Husky on bass, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, master fiddler Mark O’Connor on guitar, Sam Bush on mandolin, and Alison Brown on banjo. These incredible musicians give Douglas’s composition a magnificent workout.
This past week the Wall Street Journal published an excellent profile of Douglas by Barry Mazor. Mazor’s profile is interesting in its entirety, but I was particularly struck by Douglas’s comment on the physical demands of the music. Douglas explains:
“Bluegrass is such a chops-oriented music. It builds stamina and strength in your hands because it’s such a physical music, so hard-driving. And you have to stay up; you can’t just play half the song. Sometimes it seems like it’s an endurance test to see who can play fastest the longest! And with that training, you can go just about anywhere else, because you’ve already played all those notes in rapid succession.”
One could cite “We Hide and Seek” as Exhibit A in support of the proposition.
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