Doyle Dykes & Co: Live Thursday Set
When Doyle’s buddy & manager Mike Robertson came to me in the booth carrying the Duane Eddy Signature Model and asked if Doyle could use it for his upcoming set, I said “of course.” This was an executive decision on my part, but it was the right one.
Word must have traveled: well before Doyle’s set, the area in front of the stage was packed halfway back to the doors, and I had trouble getting close enough for good coverage. (Thus less-than-stellar pics, audio, video.)
Nonetheless, this will have to qualify as historical: Doyle Dyke’s first official performance for the public as a new member of the FMIC family. True to the freedom-to-play-whatever that helped inspire his jump from another brand, he started off with a Guild acoustic (they’re that good, you know), then switched to the Gretsch, and finished up on a ‘58 Tele he’d just acquired from a friend.
Doyle is unique among the great guitarists I’ve heard, in that he’s also a man of God in the most sincere and profound way – a minister and evangelist. Despite the tension you can imagine between the two pursuits (and the lifestyles that might go with them), Doyle has had the integrity and steadfast temerity to stick to both loves. He’s 100% great musician, one of the best guitarists you’ll ever hear – and he’s 100% preacher. He’s made the two one.
He’s followed those paths without ever compromising one to the other. You hear him play, and you can imagine that he could have had (and still could have) any opportunity he wanted as a guitarist. Pop success, studio wizard, tours, fame. But he learned early that following that path might compromise his spiritual life, and he went back home to preach – but you just know the guitar’s never far from him on the platform, and that members of his church hear his testimony through his fingers as much as through his words.
Likewise, wherever you hear Doyle play – be it the Chet Atkins convention, his guitar clinics and in-store performances, or on the road, you’re going to know about his faith. His kick-off song is often “Me and Jesus and this Old Guitar,” and that’s what it’s going to be about. He doesn’t preach at you or try to convert you, and it’s never off-putting. But you know what the man’s about. No compromise.
I had the great pleasure of attending the book release party for his spiritual/musical autobiography “The Lights of Marfa” in the theatre at the Country Music Hall of Fame last March, an event that was structured as a this-is-your-life testimonial. Family and friends were there, musical collaborators, other important people from his life (musical and evangelical). Many shared their memories and experiences of all things Doyle. I learned a lot about him in that two hours, all of it demanding respect. Deed, Duane, and Richard Hudson (long-time friends of Doyle) had all praised him to me not only as a player but as a pretty fine human, and after that evening, I certainly concurred.
The playing was also best-in-class, with “side”men including Larry Carlton. (If we’re known by the company we keep…) I still have all the audio and video of that event, and intend sometime to post it, if Doyle and Mike approve. It was as fine a couple hours of music as you could ever hear, anywhere.
ANYway. I ramble. I’m guessing Doyle will be coming to a venue near you, either on behalf of FMIC or the Lord, and I suggest you avail yourself. You’ll get pretty much the same thing in either capacity (perhaps in different proportions). In the meantime, here’s Doyle live for FMIC, playing to a densely-packed and enthusiastic crowd.
And how about the band? That’s Nashville bass legend Dave Pomeroy on the White Falcon bass, Fiddl-linist (that’s a cross between a fiddler and violinist) extraordinaire Andy Leftwich, and son Caleb Dykes. It’s a privilege to hear players like this.
(And more performances coming today/tomorrow, so stay tuned for that!)
(Is it OK to mention that there’s a Tru-Arc on that Gretsch he’s playing?)
• Video: Doyle Dykes plays Grestch
• Archived live stream: Doyle at NAMM for Gretsch