A Visit with Doyle Dykes
by Julie S. Dobbins
Doyle Dykes has traveled all over the globe as a Taylor Guitar clinician and is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest fingerstyle guitarists. He has shared the stage with Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy, Vince Gill, Larry Carlton and many other renowned guitar players. In spite of such praise and recognition, Doyle remains a humble man.
About 20 years ago, our next door neighbor told us about this guitar player they had heard that they thought Craig should hear. “He sounds just like Chet Atkins!” they proclaimed. Determined to make their point, they gave him a cassette. Craig still has that somewhat homemade cassette today, much to Doyle’s dismay. The two finally got to meet about a year later and have admired each other’s playing ever since. In fact, Doyle was instrumental in Craig getting his first Taylor guitar. I'm not sure if I've ever forgiven Doyle for that....
Your touring schedule looks almost as full as Tommy Emmanuel’s. Has being on the road gotten any easier?
Here lately it hasn't gotten easier but I'm thankful to have them and that I have the strength to go out and play. There are a lot of things that you won't see on my schedule such as last week I had an early phone interview, then a live TV show interview and then another 'phoner' for a radio station when I got back home. Here lately I've had a lot of publicity dates for my new book The Lights of Marfa.
Haley seems to have traveled with you the most, but she now has her own band. Do you still tour together? Do any of your other children travel with you now?
'Miss' Haley is getting married in July :-( and I've been pretty much on my own the last few months. She'll still go out and do a few shows but she's concentrating on her on 'gig'....as she should. She's marrying her bass player Jake Johnson. I'm so happy for them but I miss her though. She does brighten up the room for sure. People miss her at my shows.
My son Caleb just recently played on live television with me on the Fox TV affiliate in Nashville. He got most of the attention and they hardly talked about the book so from now on I'm leaving him home! (HA!) Seriously, Caleb is a fine player but he also has his own 'gig' with a band that's playing very progressive jazz/rock/metal stuff. I'm jealous. They won't let me in the band.
Do you plan to write another book - Lights of Marfa Part 2?
We are actually talking about another book but it'll be something totally different. It'll be a Christmas book with a CD. First though, we have to see how this first book sells before they'll invest in another one. I'm believing the Lights of Marfa to be blessed in that regard. In fact, I've already started on the new one.
You started touring while you were in high school and have been touring most of the time ever since. Have you ever been able to go to college?
Yes. I went to the Hard Knocks Music School and also the Interstate School of Theology. I've taken a number of courses and did attend some drafting and engineering classes for awhile, but the guitar and the road won out. Besides, I had to go out and play so my family could survive.
Do you regret not going to college?
Sounds like you're trying to convince one of your kids to go to college. (HA!) Sometimes. However, there are things I've learned more from my travels and experiences than I would've learned in college as far as the things that have really helped me get where I am now, but I wish I knew more about music and business. College would've helped me in that.
What kind of cowboy boots are the best for “cowboying it up”? (Craig suggested that question.)
Why that's my Texas life support! I found a boot maker in San Angelo, Texas named C.L. Wallis. He's the real deal and makes a great boot. I also wear Lucchese. They're great too. I have some older Justins and Tony Lamas that are nice.
In your book you talk about God giving you the desire of your heart. What is the desire of your heart these days?
I look forward to reaching more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, this involves my new TV Show on RFD to get started as well as the success of my books and CDs, but they are merely the vehicle. I also want to spend more time with my family. My grandkids are better than my '58 Tele.
What is the most difficult song for you to play?
The one I'm playing when I'm on the Grand Ole Opry.
What do you think of that Craig Dobbins guy?
I think he makes me wish I'd gone to college. Craig not only has the gift of touch when he plays but he knows more about music than I ever will. I admire him for that. I also admire his character and dignity. You don't see a lot of that in the music business. Seeing that my wife knows ME better than anyone else does, the REAL TRUTH here of course is... what do YOU think about Craig Dobbins? (HA!)
Have you ever met a guitar that you didn't like?
I don't know that I have. They're all just beautiful. I wish I could say that for every guitar PLAYER I've ever met. But you know, I like most all of them I've met. There's generally a lot of humility and respect behind even the wildest Rock Star's 'schtick'. That may seem hard to believe but it's true. Steve Lukather is a fine example. Of course he has an attitude, but he also has a lot of respect for other players. Duane Eddy once told me, "You gotta have some attitude to be able to go out there and play to all those people... as long as it's a good one!" There's a great camaraderie among guitarists I think. But that wasn't the question was it?
Obviously you've had a lot of experiences - enough to fill a book - but which one has been the most meaningful?
As far as a guitar playing experience, I think playing on the Grand Ole Opry (on TNT) with Chet Atkins and Duane Eddy. That was pretty cool. As far as a Dad experience and just being a person, making music with my kids makes me feel more like a "star" than anything.
You have gotten to meet many of your music heroes. Is there a musician you admire that you would still like to meet?
The Lights of Marfa was a pretty big project. Not only did you write a book, but you also wrote a song and recorded a DVD to go along with it. What was that like for you?
It was a Marfa Lights experience! There are so many things I could say about that. Duane Eddy playing on it... the triple fiddles... Haley walking in at the last minute not knowing I was going to ask her to sing... Don Henley coming in and getting nervous over meeting Duane... having David Huff working with me... and my brother Aubrey... Jimmy Capps... Dave Pomeroy... John Gardner... I even hand picked Bryan Fowler to do the shooting and edit for the video. The whole book and DVD and the music all finally just came together. It wasn't a dream come true for me. I don't think I would've ever had it in me to dream all that. It was a 'God thing'. (Effusions 3:20)
Is there anything you would like to tell other guitar players?
What would I like to tell other guitar players? Music is a God given gift. Even loving music is a gift. Some people don't like music... especially guitar music. We do. So, keep your guitars playing good. Change your strings often and polish it up like you did when it was new. Go out and play for other people. Keep investing in your love for the guitar and for music. In other words... keep buying guitars. Uncle Bob (Taylor) would like that!
Copyright © 2011 by Julie S. Dobbins.
Visit Doyle Dykes' website.