Bristol, TN/VA -- by Sherri George
Doyle Lawson was surrounded by twinkling lights, candy canes, shiny brass banisters and tinsel Christmas trees on the float leading the 31st Annual Bristol Christmas parade down State Street in historic downtown Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia on Thursday evening.
Doyle led the parade as official Grand Marshal, with a host of glistening floats, marching bands, and swirling lights on shiny red firetrucks cascading behind him. The caravan of holiday magic led by Lawson also ushered in Santa Claus on a float carrying his glimmering sleigh and famous host of reindeer.
The Grand Marshal honor marks a series of firsts for Lawson this year, as Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver received their first Inspirational Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year Award in October, on the heels of Lawson being inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in September.
Doyle and Santa are both pretty well thought of, as Joy Bellamy-Smith shared of her adorable four-year old daughter this week, "Rylee is more excited about seeing Doyle than she is about Santa!"
While awards are appreciated, it's the individuals his music touches who matter the most to Lawson. He carefully tucked a drawing little Rylee made for him in his pocket at the Paramount Center show last Saturday, and he treasures comments he receives such as that of a mother whose child wanted to know if she could sing with Doyle Lawson for Jesus when she got to heaven. Lawson's music touches hearts, and the hearts it touches give back a hundred-fold with sentiments such as those from some of the same children who lined the streets of Bristol for the parade, excited for a glimpse of two of their favorite fellas, Doyle Lawson and Santa Claus.
Of his evening serving as Grand Marshal, Doyle said:
"Folks, we had the best time at the Christmas Parade in Bristol last night. My daughter Kristi and grandson Spencer rode with me, and we had so much fun on the lead float coming down State Street. It was great seeing old friends lining the streets to wave hello, and I sure appreciated the honor of serving as the parade's Grand Marshal. It was a first for me, and something I'll never forget. I'm grateful to have shared that moment with my grandson especially. Priceless memories. And that's what I wish everyone this holiday season, many great memories with your families. Merry Christmas everyone!"
Doyle was back on the road this morning toward Nashville, where he and his band members Josh Swift and Mike Rogers are in studio mixing Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's newest album. Dobro player Josh Swift's Cowbell Fever Studios is hosting the mixing and mastering of this project, while both Cowbell Fever and lead singer Mike Roger's 2013 Studio were utilized in tracking. The band's new album is due out in early 2013.