Members: Jerry Douglas (resonator guitar and lap steel), Barry Bales (vocals and upright bass), Charlie Cushman (banjo and guitar), Johnny Warren (fiddle), Shawn Camp (vocals and guitar), Tim O’Brien (vocals and mandolin)
Biography: Jerry Douglas plays a resonator guitar and lap steel. And he plays them well enough to have performed on more than 1600 albums for the likes of Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, Allison Krauss, Paul Simon, and Mumford & Sons. He's also been a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Douglas)
Here's some video of his solo playing:
Note what a beautiful instrument a resonator guitar is. Listen to the sounds and tones he coaxes from it. This guy is the master.
Dobro is another name for a resonator guitar - a wood-bodied guitar with a cone-shaped resonator. But dobro can be confusing because it's both the generic name for the instrument and a popular brand. Another example of the instrument being referred to by a brand name is in Paul Simon's song "Graceland," when he sings "The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar." National also made resonator guitars. Before amplification became more common, having a resonator in the guitar enabled it to be heard better.
Douglas is a huge fan of the music of Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt. Earls of Leicester (with "Leicester" pronounced “Lester”) is a punny reference to those two. As Douglas said in The Bluegrass Situation:
"Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys inspired me and shaped the way I heard music from a very early age. Now we've assembled this record to introduce the present day bluegrass audience to a sound that has been missing from our musical landscape for over 30 years.” The band’s mission is to “pay homage to what I think was the greatest Bluegrass band to ever lay a pick on a string." www.thebluegrasssituation.com/read/jerry-douglas-revisits-foggy-mountain-boys-music-earls-leicester
Before we get to video of the Earls of Leicester, let's take a peek at the originals - this is Flatt and Scruggs in the Foggy Mountain Boys playing the classic Foggy Mountain Breakdown at the Grand Ol' Opry. You don't get much more classic than that.
Now here's the Earls playing the Flatt and Scruggs tune: Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Their only album, self-named, won the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy this year.
Genre: Classic Bluegrass
Similar Artists: The Foggy Mountain Boys
Similar Bonnaroo Artists: There are other bluegrass acts, but none that are this focused on recreating a classic sound - getting back to the roots of the genre.
Physical Reaction/Live Show: I haven't seen them. But if you like old-school bluegrass and are impressed by musicianship, I think you’ll be blown away.
Is there an actual Earl of Leicester? There is. There have been many through history. Here's one of the 1st: