Music has been a huge part of the life of John Darlington. The West Jefferson resident played music from an early age and by his teens he played in a local band called the Caesars. They played gigs all over the county “back in the day.”
His days of “what’s happenin’ now” remain filled with music. But rather than play it on a guitar, he plays it on a turntable.
“Music has been a passion of mine,” Darlington said. “I just keep doing it.” As a local disc jockey does what he can — in his own small way — to give some air time to deserving groups and/or solo music acts. Darlington hosts in the studio on his Independent Showcase on WCYC-LP every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m.
On Saturday, March 8, he will host a man-and-his-mother duo in the studio. They are Jim Delawder and his mother, Dora, and they play under the name of BD+20/ Iron Line. The younger Delawder works in West Jefferson for Target distribution.
The band’s name comes from the first initial of Delawder’s nickname, Bo, and his mother’s first name initial, D. (BD). His mother is the +20 part of the equation as she is 20 years older than her son.
Dora, 53, began to play guitar from an early age. As young as 10, she was picking out notes on her father’s Sam Oty’s guitar.
“He played for enjoyment, enjoying the moment,” she said of her late father.
The moment would mean moments on Sunday afternoons, when fellow musicians would visit the Oty household for jam sessions. Dora would eventually become part of them. She continued to gain skill on the instrument and develop a singing voice others told her was “different.”
Different can make a difference in the music business she was told.
“It’s not just another voice,” Dora said others told her. So she formed a group with two other women and they called themselves the Honky Tonk Angels. They played live on WCOM out of Urbana every Sunday afternoon. After that, she struck out on her own in 1988 and visited Nashville.
There a producer, Mike Johnson, heard in her some potential and produced three records. He felt her maiden name had too many syllables and gave her the pseudonym Lori King. She recorded several single records under that name “The Door is Always Open,” “Sending You Some Memories,” and “Mom’s Song.” She said in 1988 the songs landed at various spots on the top 100 charts
She left the recording industry to become a wife and mother.
Her son did not pick up music as quickly as she did, but in a short time has made considerable progress. Delawder said he began playing about age 20. He plays banjo in a finger-picking style he taught himself to do. He said his style of banjo picking borrows from some of the legends in the industry: Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs and Don Reno.
“I’ve tried to learn the root,” Delawder said. From that foundation he has derived his own style.
While learning an instrument Delawder became interested in writing songs. With a little coaching from an experienced songwriter, Delawder began to write lyrics for tunes picked on the banjo.
Iron Line is the name taken by the musicians who play with the Delawders. They include: Jerry Murnahan, stand-up bass, dobro, Guy B. Evans, Dan Laney, fiddle.
Darlington has already heard their music and in his opinion, “they’re really good.” He describes their style as “home-y bluegrass, played with stand-up bass, dobro and mandolin.
Darlington said his first contact with them was by referral. Then he heard a recording of the group from Springfield and knew it was worth a spot on his weekly program.” They mesh well, and they’ve all developed their own style of play,” Darlington said.
Check the group out on the internet: www.reverbnation.com/bd+20ironline
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.