From the Archives:  Photograph of The Dillards, from l to r: Dean Webb, Doug Dillard, Rodney Dillard, and Mitch Jayne.  Photo courtesy of Diane Jayne.


ASCAP's database credits Rodney and Doug Dillard with 129 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements.  Mitch Jane shared credits on 22 of these selections as well as 6 additional songs.  Dean Webb shared credits on 14 of these selections.  They include:

  • “Dooley”
  • “Doug's Tune”
  • “Old Home Place”
  • "There is a Time"

Early influences

  • Homer E. Dillard, Sr. and Lorene Dillard (Doug & Rodney's parents)
  • Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys
  • Joe Noel
  • The Stanley Brothers
  • Don Reno, Red Smiley and The Tennessee Cut-ups

Came to fame with

  • The Dillards, 1962-2012

Performed with

  • Howe Teague Band, 1953
  • Ozark Mountain Boys, 1956-1959
  • Hawthorne Brothers and Lewis Brothers, 1958-1959
  • Dixie Ramblers, 1960
  • Dillards, 1962-2012
  • Folkswingers (recording act), 1963
  • Dillard and Clark, 1968-1969
  • Doug Dillard Band, 1980-c.1986
  • Rodney Dillard and The Dillard Band, c.2010-present
  • The Missouri Boatride, c.2000-present

Led the way

  • Exposed bluegrass to a nationwide, and later worldwide, audience through appearances on The Andy Griffith Show in 1963-64.
  • Doug and Rodney Dillard performed most of the soundtrack for the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde, along with Glen Campbell.
  • First bluegrass band to release a cover of a Bob Dylan song:  "Walking Down the Line" (1964).
  • One of the first bluegrass bands to use electrified instruments.
  • Doug Dillard was inducted into the SPBGMA Hall of Greats, 1992.
  • Doug Dillard Band's album Heartbreak Hotel nomimated for a Grammy (1988).
  • Dillards' song "The Darlin' Boys" nominated for a Grammy (1991).
  • IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award, 1992.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2009.


the dillards

Doug Dillard

Born:  March, 6, 1937, East St. Louis, IL
Died:  May 16, 2016, Nashville, TN
Primary Instrument:  Banjo

Rodney Dillard

BORN:  May 18, 1942, EAST ST. LOUIS, IL

Dean Webb

BORN:  March 28, 1937, Independence, MO

Mitch Jayne

BORN:  July 5, 1928, Hammond, IN
DIED:  August 2, 2010, Eminence, MO




  • When making their first trek from Missouri to California in 1962, the band ran out of money along the way.  They secured a week's work playing at the Buddhi Club in Oklahoma City and earned enough to complete their trip.
  • Francis Bavier (Aunt Bea) made homemade candy and brought it to the boys when the Dillards were filming The Andy Griffith Show.
  • A commercial airline pilot was known to route his plane of Salem, Missouri, so his passengers could listen to Mitch Jayne's radio program.
  • Doug Dillard sat in with the Blue Grass Boys when Bill Monroe showed up in Los Angeles without a banjo player.
  • When Mitch Jayne's cabin home was destroyed by fire in 1981, the Dillards held a reunion/benefit concert to raise money to rebuild the structure.
  • The Dillards are recipients of the Outstanding Missourian award.


From the Archives:  Mike Seeger and Bill Clifton at the Coach House Folk Club in England 1971.  Photo donated by Ron Petronko.

  From the Archives:  Bill Clifton playing an autoharp in 1990.  Donated by Strictly Country Records.


From the Archives:  Bill Clifton playing an autoharp in 1990.  Donated by Strictly Country Records.


The Dillards, in their classic configuration, were a foursome from Missouri that consisted of brothers Doug (on banjo) and Rodney Dillard (on guitar and lead vocals), mandolin player Dean Webb, and bass player Mitch Jayne.  The brothers grew up in a musical household; their father was a fiddler from Tennessee and their mother played guitar.  Doug started playing guitar at age five and banjo at age sixteen.

Mitch Jayne, formerly a one-room schoolteacher, worked as a disc jockey and became acquainted with Rodney and Doug when they played live music on his program.  Jayne was born in Hammond, Indiana, and attended the University of Missouri before embarking on teaching and radio careers in the Ozarks.  He stayed with the Dillards for twelve years playing bass, writing songs, and developing much of the comedy for which the group became known.

When the Dillard brothers and Jayne decided to form a group, they called on Dean Webb, a Missouri native who was exposed to music as a youth through the playing of family members. It was Bill Monroe's 1954 recording of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" that really ignited Dean's passion for bluegrass.  By the early 1960s, he was playing mandolin with Lonnie Hoppers and The Ozark Mountain Boys.  Their work included regular television appearances in Springfield and Joplin, Missouri.  It was during this period that Dean met and subsequently teamed up with Doug and Rodney Dillard.  He worked with various incarnations of the Dillards for thirty years.

Sensing that their potential for growth as a band was limited in Missouri, the foursome journeyed west to California.  The day of their arrival in Hollywood, in November of 1962, they headed to the Ash Grove, a trendy folk venue that had previously featured Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, and Maybelle Carter.  An impromptu jam session in the lobby for the establishment brought them to the immediate attention of Jim Dickson, a record producer who signed them to a contract with Elektra the next day.

The original group recorded three albums for Elektra:  Back Porch Bluegrass, Live...Almost, and Pickin' and Fiddlin', the latter with guest Byron Berline on fiddle.  They introduced a number of original selections written by various band members, including "Dooley," "There is a Time," "Doug's Tune," and "Old Home Place" (revived a decade later when J.D. Crowe included it in his classic album, J.D. Crowe and the New South).

Publicity generated by the group's affiliation with Elektra led to their being asked to audition for the Andy Griffith Show.  The Dillards were hired before completing their first song.  They appeared in six episodes during 1963 and 1964 as part of Darling family, headed by family patriarch Brisco Darling (Denver Pyle).  Depicted on the show as socially inept, the boys shone brilliantly on a number of their original musical selections.  This led to other television appearances, including guest spots on a Judy Garland special and the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show.  A further spinoff of the Griffith popularity and Elektra releases was the opportunity to perform at major festivals and venues such as the UCLA Folk Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and Gerde's Folk City in New York City's Greenwich Village.

By 1966 the brothers began to differ about the direction of their music.  After leaving the group that year, Doug helped Gene Clark, a co-founder for the Byrds, with his first solo album.  They later formed a duo known as Dillard and Clark.  During this time, Doug composed and, with Rodney, recorded music for the soundtrack to the 1967 hit movie Bonnie and Clyde (for which Flatt and Scrugg's 1949 "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" was used as the main theme).  Doug later produced background music for commercials by 7 Up, Chevrolet, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Visa.

Rodney kept the name "The Dillards" and replaced Doug with Herb Pedersen.  The group recorded two additional albums for Elektra:  Wheatstraw Suite and Copperfields.  With electrified instruments, drums, and tunes borrowed from the Beatles, folk singer Tim Hardin and the like, Wheatstraw Suite combined bluegrass with rock and country.  It has been cited as one of the origins of folk rock.  Copperfields followed the same format but its sales at the time were not sufficient to warrant renewal of their Elektra contract. 

Separately, Doug and Rodney participated in several high profile tours during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Doug toured Europe as a member of the Byrds while Rodney and the Dillards performed more than thirty dates as part of Elton John's first tour of the United States.  The Dillards' most commercially successful album, Roots and Branches, was released during this time.

Other well-received recordings surfaced during the 1970s.  Among them were Tribute to the American Duck; Dillard-Hartford-Dillard, a reunion album that paired Rodney and Doug with their old pal John Hartford; and Duelin' Banjo, a solo album by Doug that nicely complemented The Banjo Album, an earlier solo release.

During the 1980s Rodney toured with Earl Scruggs, performing at a number of major venues.  He appeared on Earl's 1983 album, On Top of the World, singing lead on the title track and "Carolina Star."  Following this, Rodney and his wife, Beverly Cotton Dillard, along with Dean Webb put in a six-year stretch at Silver Dollar City in Missouri.  In 1983 Doug reactivated his Doug Dillard Band with Ginger Boatwright, Billy constable, Roger Rasnake, and David Grier.  This band recorded two albums for Flying Fish:  What's That? and Heartbreak Hotel.

Mitch Jayne returned to Missouri in 1974, built a log house in a remote area, and resumed radio work with a program called Hickory Holler Time.  He wrote several books:  The Forest in the Wind, Old Fish Hawk - which was later made into a move - and Fiddler's Ghost.  He also wrote a weekly newspaper column called "Driftwood" and lectured on conservation issues, culture, and history.

1990 marked the 30th anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show.  What started as a modest celebratory tour of four dates - featuring the original Dillards - morphed into 132 shows, with appearances in England and Japan.

The original foursome of Rodney and Doug Dillard, Mitch Jayne, and Dean Webb performed their last musical engagement together on July 15, 2002, at Carnegie Hall, where they shared the stage with Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger.  Rodney and Doug teamed again in 2004 to play festivals and concerts for the next several years.  Today Rodney also presents Mayberry Values, an "inspirational and entertaining program with singing, testimony and the Word."  Dean Webb has been appearing with another Missouri band, the Missouri Boatride.

The Dillards were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2009.  Rodney Dillard said, "Bluegrass has allowed me to make friends all over the world.  It's given me a wonderful family, and by the grace of God we got this wile we're still alive.  We all thought that in order for this happen, one of us would have to die - but no one wanted to volunteer!"  Less than a year later, in 2010, Mitch Jayne passed away at the age of eighty-two.  Doug Dillard died in 2012 at seventy-five. 


Gary Reid is a bluegrass music historian, journalist, and producer, based in Roanoke,Virginia.
"I had a bad taste in my mouth from the first time we left Salem, Missouri to play in New York, and all the Monroe freaks and bluegrass heavies gave us a very hard time about what we did." - Rodney Dillard, quoted by Richard D. Smith, in "Rodney Dillard:  California Hillbilly."  Muleskinner News, January/February 1975.
"It's no exaggeration to say that The Darlins {aka The Dillards} had a lot to do with the spread of bluegrass music overseas.  Wherever the TV show was syndicated, which was just about every country, people couldn't get enough bluegrass music." - Mitch Jayne, quoted by William Childress in "Bluegrass Branches Out,"  The Rotarian, April 1994.
"Doug and I, the original guys who started this, will finish it.  For whatever our time is, Douglas and I are going to continue to perform, continue to make records, and continue to enjoy life in a more moderate way." - Rodney Dillard, quoted by Nancy Cardwell, from "They're Back:  Rodney and Douglas Dillard,"  Bluegrass Unlimited, June 2005.
"Mayberry is my home away from home.  It seems like the town that I grew up in." - Doug Dillard, quoted in Ken beck and Jim Clark, Mayberry Memories, 2005.



From the Archives:  Bill Clifton and a Bentley in England in 1971.  Photo by Ron Petronko.