He’s one of the most respected instrumentalists in bluegrass music, but more often than not he’s relegated to playing second fiddle (or more likely dobro) to artists like Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss, among others. But with the ‘Traveler’ album, Jerry Douglas is the unifying element within all the songs.

 

The musician says this was a different kind of record for him, as Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Marc Cohn, Alison Krauss, Keb’ Mo, and Mumford & Sons were among the guests on his disc. He tells Billboard, “That was the idea, to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to get about as far away from bluegrass as I could.”

One of the highlights on the new disc is Douglas’ take on the Simon & Garfunkel favorite, ‘The Boxer.’ For this version, Douglas secured Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons to sing lead, while Paul Simon takes a backing role. As expected, Jerry’s instrumentals also shine through on the track.

Meanwhile, Eric Clapton’s appearance on the ‘Traveler’ album allows the guitar great to slip into a bluesy New Orleans-inspired feel with the track ‘Something You Got.’ Douglas says that being a Nashville resident, taking in the spirit of New Orleans while recording there was a treat. He adds, “Everybody lives there, and breathes the air. You’re a different person. That’s what I wanted in these different moves to other cities. It created a different sound attitude in the people that contributed in these cities.”

‘Traveler’ is in stores now.

Listen to Jerry Douglas with Marcus Mumford and Paul Simon on ‘The Boxer’

Listen to Jerry Douglas with Eric Clapton on ‘Something You Got’