Vale Douglas Dillard 1937 – 2012

by | 18 May, 2012 | 3 comments

Banjo player Doug Dillard, from the ledgendary band The Dillards has passed away this week in Nashville after a long illness. Doug was 75 years old.

Doug originally started playing guitar at age (5) and he picked up his first banjo as a Christmas present from mom and dad at the age of (15). In 1956 Doug played banjo on the local weekly radio show of Howe Teague at KSMO in Salem. From 1956 to 1959 Doug and his younger brother Rodney, along with Bill Glenn, Henry and Jim Lewis and Paul Breidenbach formed The Ozark Mountain Boys. Mitch Jayne who was a local radio personality, invited the band to play on “Hickory Hollow” his Saturday morning radio show on KSMO in Salem. Doug also played banjo for The Hawthorn Brothers and during that time he appeared on TV with the group “Lee Mace and The Grand Ozark Opry.” Doug learned to play banjo by listening to the early recordings of Earl Scruggs, Don Reno and Ralph Stanley.

The Dillards were also regulars features on the Andy Griffith Show appearing as a hillbilly family down from the mountains called The Darlings.

Douglas Dillard was inducted into the Preservation Hall Of Fame for (SPBGMA) – The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Of America.

More articles and tributes:

Enterprise Times

Boston Herald

The Tennessean


  1. Ed Lowe

    The first bluegrass album I bought was “Back Porch Bluegrass” by the Dillards. The banjo playing on that record was a revelation and I’ve been a Doug Dillard fan ever since. What a great musician he was!

    • Greg McGrath

      The Dillards was my first album although I had heard Flatt and Scruggs prior. Their “Dillards Live Almost” album is just full of great music and very funny intros. Slicker than deer guts on a door knob…

  2. Lachie Davidson

    The music world sure is losing some of it’s heros this year. So glad they’ve left such great music with us!