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Billy Dean, Doyle Lawson and Carson Peters headline Covered Bridge entertainment

John Thompson • Updated Jun 5, 2018 at 8:31 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The musical entertainment at the Covered Bridge Celebration may be free, but once again the acts will feature some of the biggest talents in Nashville.

The acts will include the legendary Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on Friday, Grammy Award-winner Billy Dean on Saturday and hometown favorite Carson Peters & Iron Mountain on Thursday.

Dean’s Saturday performance will close out the festival. He has been described as “an American troubadour who has mastered the art of singing, songwriting and storytelling. His unique ability to morph into the characters of his songs brings the storyline to life, captivating his audiences with musical drama.”

Dean is best known in the country music genre for his 11 Top 10 singles, five No. 1 hits and over 4 million albums sold. But the well-rounded performer is also well known for his folk, Southern rock, bluegrass and classical country abilities. He has been nominated by every major music award entry. Most recently, he was inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame.

His musical awards includes:

• 1991 and 1992 BMI Pop Awards.

• 1992 Academy of Country Music Songwriter of the Year for “Somewhere in My Broken Heart.”

• 1992 Academy of Country Music New Male Vocalist of the Year.

• 1993 BMI Country Song Awards for “Billy the Kid” and “Somewhere in My Broken Heart.”

• 1993 BMI Million Air Plays Awards for “Somewhere in My Broken Heart.”

• 1993 CMT Rising Star Award.

• 1993 TNN Songwriter Award for “Billy the Kid.”

• 1996 Grammy for “A Country Tribute … Amazing Grace.”

After a decade of touring, Dean took time to focus on family and songwriting. He left Capital Records and signed with Curb Records for the release of his 2004 album “Let Them Be Little.” The single was a career radio smash and spent 10 weeks in the Billboard Top 10. “Let Them Be Little” still sells over a thousand downloads a week around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Lawson will take the stage Friday evening. With nearly 40 albums to their credit, the group has multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, International Bluegrass Music Association and Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Awards nominations and are seven-time winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Vocal Group of the Year.

Lawson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at the Ryman Auditorium in 2012.

Lawson was born on April 20, 1944, in Fordtown, near Kingsport, to Leonard and Minnie Lawson. As far back as he can remember, he loved the sound of music, especially the Grand Ole Opry. The group that most impressed young Lawson the most was Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.

Lawson’s father, mother and sister sang a cappella music in churches. This influence led to his love of quartet music. When he was 11 or 12 he expressed an interest in playing the mandolin, so his father borrowed one from a member of his quartet, Willis Byrd. Lawson taught himself to play by listening to the radio, a few records and an occasional television show.

Lawson continued to perform as he grew. In April 1979, he formed Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. The makeup of the band has changed many times over the past 38 years, but the Quicksilver sound has remained.

Among the band’s many awards are:

• 1984-1988 SPBGMA Bluegrass Band of the Year for five consecutive years.

• 1984, 1988, 1989, 1995 SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the Year for four years.

• 1986-1990, 2013 SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year for six years.

• 1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992 SPBGMA Gospel Bluegrass Band of the Year for five years.

• 1987-1991 SPBGMA Bluegrass Album of the Year for five years.

• 1989-1993 SPBGMA Vocal Group of the Year for five years.

• 1990, 2003, 2006 IBMA Song of the Year for three years;

• 1992, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 SPBGMA Overall Gospel Group of the Year for seven years.

• 1996, 2000, 2003, 2007 IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance for four years.

• 2001-2007 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year for seven years.

• 2006 National Heritage Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts.

Peters requires no introduction to audiences in Carter County. He has been performing for them for years and still has time for his many local admirers between doing his homework, pitching for his youth baseball team and performing on the Grand Ole Opry.

Peters also requires no introduction to the Covered Bridge Stage. He and Iron Mountain have been playing on it since it was built a few years ago, and a few Covered Bridge Celebrations ago. He also performs each year during Covered Bridge Park performances on Saturday afternoons in the summer.

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