As one of the premiere dobro players in bluegrass, new-acoustic, and country music, Jerry “Flux” Douglas toured and recorded with everyone from Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to mandolin sensation David Grisman and banjo innovator Bela Fleck. Douglas’ albums as a leader fully exploited the dobro’s resonant guitar sound, his aggressive touch, incredibly fast finger picking and deft use of the steel bar giving the instrument a bright, cutting tone-quality.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Douglas was eight years old when his father, a bluegrass musician, introduced him to the dobro. He became further fascinated with the instrument upon hearing Josh Graves play the instrument at a 1963 Flatt & Scruggs concert. By the time he was 16, Douglas had been playing in his father’s band for a number of years; when the group played at a festival alongside the Country Gentlemen, the Gentlemen were impressed with the youth’s playing and invited him to join them for the rest of the summer. Later Douglas worked with J.D. Crowe and the New South as well as David Grisman, and Boone Creek with Ricky Skaggs.
In 1978, Douglas made his solo debut with Fluxology. His next album, Tennessee Fluxedo came out two years later. He began playing and recording with the Whites in 1983, and eventually left to focus on his solo career and much sought-after session work. He recorded three albums for MCA in the late 1980s, most notably 1989’s Plant Early, which marked a change toward a calmer, more textured direction. In the early ’90s, Douglas and guitarists Albert Lee and Tal Farlow embarked upon a European tour for the National Council of Traditional Arts; he also began producing other artists and making regular appearances on the TNN show American Music Shop. In 1993, Douglas, guitarist Russ Barenberg and bassist Edgar Meyer released the Sugar Hill album Skip, Hop & Wobble. Restless on the Farm followed in 1998. Four years went by before a new studio album was released, but in 2002 the critically-praised Lookout for Hope was dropped in May.
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