Everyone has a music show they missed and now regret missing. Maybe they were too young or too busy or too late or just didn’t know better.
Maybe it was Jimi Hendrix at the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium in the ’60s, or Monty Byrom and Big House at the Crystal Palace in the 1990s. Maybe it was the time Buck Owens and Merle Haggard got together on stage at the Kern County Fairgrounds in 1995, or Fleetwood Mac — with Christine McVie — at the Rabobank Arena in 2014.
If you had the chance to be at any one of those concerts and blew it, you may be kicking yourself to this day.
Well, this time you’re getting advance notice of one of those don’t-miss moments in local music.
Dobro virtuoso and legend Jerry Douglas, a three-time CMA Musician of the Year and a 14-time Grammy winner, a player who The New York Times called “Dobro’s matchless contemporary master,” is coming to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace on Friday through the Guitar Masters concert series.
Douglas’ appearance was planned in partnership with the California Bluegrass Association and local businesses in coordination with CBA’s “Great 48 Jam” happening at The Marriott Convention Center hotel from Thursday through Sunday.
Douglas, 66, sat down with The Californian for a long-distance chat from his home outside of Nashville. He talked about growing up with music in his blood, what it means to him to come to the home of the Bakersfield Sound and why he continues to stretch the limits of his music.
“I don’t remember not being musical,” Douglas said. “That doesn’t exist for me.”
Before the guitar, before the dobro, he first started “hammering around” on the mandolin.
“I remember when I finally got, like, a solo to ‘Ragtime Annie’ or something, my father went next door to get a neighbor to prove that I could do it,” he recalled, laughing at the memory.
When asked about performing in Bakersfield, the home of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, Douglas said the history here and the musical influence is significant and undeniable.
He talked about the sound that came out of Bakersfield and Oildale as “this whole kind of country that was not Nashville.
“I grew up listening to both of those guys, you know, Merle later, but Buck first,” he said. “My mother really loved Buck Owens. My dad put up with it until he went, ‘Yeah, I like that, too.’
"I remember where I was the day Don Rich died,” he said of the death in 1974 of that most famous Buckaroo, a noted guitarist, fiddle player and singer of those unique vocal harmonies to Buck’s lead vocals.
“I’m that into it,” Douglas said.
His distinctive sound on the dobro, or resonator guitar, graces some 1,600 albums with artists as diverse as Garth Brooks, George Jones, Paul Simon, Little Big Town, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, Ray Charles, Dierks Bentley and Tommy Emmanuel, among many others.
And while bluegrass is surely his primary or one of his most important influences, the Jerry Douglas Band also incorporates elements of country, rock, jazz, blues and Celtic music.
He remembered visiting a friend’s house where he was exposed to a kind of musical expression he hadn’t heard before.
“He played me Weather Report’s album ‘Heavy Weather’ and Chick Corea’s ‘Light as a Feather,’ and I went, ‘What is that? I want to do that.’” he said of the two influential jazz artists.
“I never thought about whether my instrument could do that,” Douglas said. “I never thought about it as having any limitations.”
And maybe it doesn’t, at least not in the hands of Douglas, who Guitar Masters founder Rick Kreiser considers the greatest dobro player in the world.
Douglas’ band includes Daniel Kimbroon on bass, Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle, and Mike Sealon on guitar, musicians who Douglas said are as accomplished and creative as any he has shared a stage with.
“People worry about music dying, about the integral parts of it, the essence of it, going away,” he said. “It’s not going anywhere.”
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Reporter Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC