Andy Griffith, who passed away on Tuesday morning, brought bluegrass music into the public eye when he brought the Dillards onto his show to play the backwoods family the Darlings.
Through a handful of episodes over the run of the show, the Dillards were able to play their music for millions of Americans who had never been exposed before to bluegrass music.
Rodney Dillard is the only member of the original Dillards still performing with the group and he took the time to issue a statement on the passing of Griffith:
Andy Griffith became more than an icon. He represented American family values and has given comfort and hope in these uncertain times. He gave The Dillards (The Darlings) an opportunity to be part of this. Andy was kind, generous and patient with an inexperienced group of pickers from the Ozark Mountains. Andy Griffith’s impact on the world will last forever.
Also issuing a statement was actress Maggie Peterson who played Charlene Darling on the show. Although not a part of the Dillards, she became close with the band through their numerous appearances.
The passing of Andy leaves me so saddened. It feels like the presence that kept us steady in life is now gone. The Darling family was treated with such respect on the show. These could have been ridiculous characters, without Andy’s respectful reaction to us. Everyone will truly miss him. Thank God we have those beautiful episodes to keep us company. He enhanced my life and I will miss him so.