Douthwrights take stage tonight

In spite of the fact that the bulk of its members have full-time jobs, Moncton bluegrass group The Douthwrights still manage to find the time to eek out the odd show here at home and across the province.

The band is gearing up for a run of four shows spread over the next couple of months here in New Brunswick, the first of which is tonight at the Magnetic Hill Lions Club on Route 126.

Asked about the work-play balance, band member Shane Douthwright admits there have been casualties along the way in the sense of having “lost” three band members who were unable to strike that delicate harmony between playing music while fulfilling life commitments.

Nonetheless the band, comprised of Douthwright, his wife Nadine, his father Dennis as well as banjo player Andrew Conde and local bluegrass legend Eddy Poirier, has soldiered on to release two full-length albums including their East Coast Music Award-nominated debut Bluegrass Guitar and Mandolin Collection.

Indeed, the Atlantic provinces are probably among the most potentially fruitful places to be in a bluegrass band, given the popularity of the genre in this region of the country. When quizzed about why he feels bluegrass bands connect so well with audiences here, Shane Douthwright offers, “Bluegrass music is traditional, acoustic, roots music and I feel that on the East Coast we appreciate tradition and are open to music that is not necessarily mainstream pop music,” he says. “In my opinion, it appeals to most Maritimers as it is reminiscent of old country music but also resembles traditional Acadian music.”

Audiences have certainly thrown their support behind The Douthwrights, giving the group a standing ovation for their opening slot performance with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder while the band has also managed to land high-profile slots opening for Sammy Kershaw and Lorrie Morgan as well.

A teacher by day, Douthwright is looking forward to the upcoming summer season but for more than just having the good fortune of having the summer off. He and the rest of his group already have a number of festival appearances scheduled through the Maritimes, Ontario and the United States. He says the group averages six to 10 festivals during the summer season and does its best to get in a couple of shows a month in the off season.

And though no new Douthwrights’ record is on the immediate horizon, one has a feeling that having the opportunity to play and perform their music is more than good enough for the band mates for now.

Article published in March 18, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript