HENDERSONVILLE-It seems breaking up truly never gets any easier.
Ashe County native Luke Dotson found that out earlier this month after he left the bluegrass band, Mountain Faith, that he helped turn into a household name.
“Toward the end, I knew I needed to make a change, and had felt that way for awhile,” Dotson said. “But it was a decision that I hated to make.”
Dotson and the other members of Mountain Faith, a Sylva-based bluegrass group, turned in a string of performances this summer – in front of millions of viewers on t.v. no less – that earned the five member band a semi-final shot on America’s Got Talent.
The faith-based group was also nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2015 Emerging Artist Award in October, scored a major gig performing for U.S. troops overseas and belted out the national anthem at the Georgia Dome before the Carolina Panthers squared off against the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 27.
Dotson admits the band’s meteoric rise should have made him happy. He’s dreamed for years of hitting the big time as a musician, and he’s spent thousands of hours over the years honing his craft.
The reality of the music industry, however, turned out to be slightly different than his dreams. The constant travel and rehearsals, and the relentless focus on the business of music took its toll, he said.
“Coming closer to that goal wasn’t making me any happier though,” Dotson said. “I don’t even remember where we were, but we were talking to a bunch of people who were congratulating us after a performance and I just thought to myself, ‘I’d so much rather be home right now.”
In the end, Dotson chose to step away from the group when he decided he had to prioritize his relationship with his family, especially his wife. The couple purchased a home in Hendersonville last fall, a move that forced him to travel more than an hour each way to rehearse with Mountain Faith.
And while he said the band’s earnings improved after its run on America’s Got Talent, life on the road isn’t cheap.
“I was chasing this dream but she was really the one that was supporting us,” Dotson said. “I felt I needed to step up and do more.”
Right now, he said he’s not sure exactly what his post-Mountain Faith life holds. He said he wants to remain in the music business and still has dreams of forging a career as a performer, though Dotson said he could see himself offering music lessons one day, as well.
He’s also booking solo performance gigs and searching for another group he could lend his talents to.
“I don’t really have any doubt Mountain Faith is going to do big things,” Dotson said. “And I’m going to miss them all, but I simply needed to step back and find something else for me. Eventually I’ll figure out what that is.”
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