Phil Leadbetter – Dobro
2014 IBMA Dobro Player of the Year
Phil started playing the resonator guitar in 1974. In 1975, he became a founding member of the Knoxville Newgrass Boys, this band was invited to the White House to perform for U.S President Gerald R. Ford during the Nation’s Bicentennial.
Phil became a member of JD Crowe And The New South in 1990 where he would stay until 2001. While a member of the New South, Phil recorded his first solo CD “Philibuster” in 1997 for Mid-Knight Records. The tune “Big Mon” reached #1 on Prime Cuts Of Bluegrass Volume #27. “Philibuster” was later purchased and released on Rounder Records in 1999.
In 2001, Phil became a founding member of the band Wildfire. The bands 1st Pinecastle Records release “Uncontained” charted top 10 on the National Bluegrass During 2003, Gibson Guitars released the new Phil Leadbetter Signature Dobro Guitar to world-wide sales.
In 2005, Phil released his 2nd solo CD “Slide Effects” on Pinecastle Records. The tune “California Cottonfields” charted #1 for two consecutive months. In October 2005, “Slide Effects” was voted “Best Instrumental Album”, and Phil was awarded “IBMA Dobro Player of the Year” at The International Bluegrass Music Awards which were held at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
In December 2006, Phil joined forces with Steve Gulley and Alan Bibey to form the bluegrass super-group Grasstowne. The group’s 1st CD was released in Fall of 2007 and charted at #1 for 3 straight months on the Bluegrass Unlimited’s National Bluegrass Chart. The single “Dixie Flyer” also charted 2 straight months at #1 on the singles chart. In February of 2008, Grasstowne picked up “Bluegrass Album Of The Year”, and Phil picked up “Dobro Player of The Year” at the SPBGMA Awards Show which is held annually in Nashville, TN.
In 2010, Phil left Grasstowne and became a member of The Whites who are members of The Grand Ole Opry.
In April 2011, Phil was diagnosed with a form of cancer called “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” and took 2 years off from music in order to focus on treatments and recovery. In December 2012, Phil was cured of cancer following a stem cell transplant and returned to music as a new member of The Dale Ann Bradley Band.
Phil was recently awarded the 2014 IBMA Dobro Player of the Year. He is an active member of the Dale Anne Bradley band and can be seen and hear performing at shows throughout the US. Phil is also a well respected instructor at Bluegrass Camp Germany and is a camp favorite for his charming with and sharp humor.
Phil has been with us since the beginning and has a standing invitation to join our team any time he wishes. Anyone who has spent more than a couple of seconds with this true southern gentleman knows why he is an in demand Dobro player and teacher.