of Fahrenheit 451, but he also wrote the film script for Moby Dick, which I never knew. Wotta guy.
To Merlefest this year (scheduling conflict), despite the nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me that Doc probably didn't have many years left. I should have listened to the voice.
RIP Doctor Watson I presume. You made our world a better place.
Better late than never to the table -- one of the greats.
i too just wanted to chime in on doc's passing. my first exposure to doc was on the nitty gritty dirt band's album, will the circle be unbroken. this timeless classic exposed me to an entire world of music, which i'm still hooked on to till this day. i was aware of the dead, but not until a few years later, and blues for allah, did i hear that 'other' element that, for me, is the dead. i guess i was in like 7th grade, and when i heard some of circle, i was mesmerized. it was my good fortune to have seen doc play live on many occasions, maybe as many as 10, including the doc and dawg tour with grissman. he was just one of my all-time favorites, and i am so glad he shared his unique talent with us. rip doc...
that's for sure.
I first saw Doc at a Bluegrass Festival at Mole Lake, Wisconsen. Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Doc & Merle Watson, Lester Flatt Band, and many more, decades ago. But Doc's set seemed so special, Merle took his arm and led him to the chair in the middle of the stage. And then Doc & Merle led us all though a wonderful and intimate evening of music. Happy Trails, Doc. And thanks so much.
Doc Watson played the acoustic guitar with such pure precision that Bob Dylan once compared his picking to "water running."
The folk-music icon, 89, died Tuesday, after a fall last week at his home in Deep Gap, N.C., and subsequent colon surgery.
Blind from infancy, Watson grew up playing harmonica and a homemade banjo but learned guitar after his father bought him a $12 Stella acoustic when he was 13. Born Arthel Lane Watson, he picked up the nickname "Doc" at the suggestion of an audience member at a radio broadcast when he was in his teens.
Though Watson was instrumental in developing the canon for 1960s folk musicians with his recordings of traditional tunes like Deep River Blues and Shady Grove, he didn't play just the music of the Appalachian Mountains. Before folklorist and musician Ralph Rinzler first recorded him backing old-time banjo player Clarence "Tom" Ashley in 1960, he worked with a local dance band, playing honky-tonk, rockabilly, pop and square-dance tunes.
"His adaptations of fiddle tunes to the flattop guitar virtually reinvented the instrument's role in bluegrass," journalist John Milward wrote in liner notes for the 1999 compilation The Best of Doc Watson 1964-1968, which included Watson's versions of the Eddy Arnold country hit Tennessee Stud and Jimmie Rodgers' My Rough and Rowdy Ways.
A master of both finger-picking and flat-picking styles, Watson was, along with Merle Travis and Chet Atkins, one of the most influential acoustic guitarists of the '50s and '60s. He played the 1963 and 1964 Newport Folk Festivals and became popular on the folk circuit, especially in New York and California.
"He is single-handedly responsible for the extraordinary increase in acoustic flat-picking and finger-picking performance," Rinzler once wrote. "His flat-picking style has no precedent in early country music history."
His appearance on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1972 Will the Circle Be Unbroken triple-album set took him to a wider audience, including fans of country, bluegrass and blues.
"There may not be a serious, committed Baby Boomer alive who didn't at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson," President Bill Clinton said when presenting Watson his National Medal of the Arts in 1997. Watson also won seven Grammys over a 33-year period and received Grammy's lifetime achievement award in 2004.
For many years, Watson toured with his son, Merle Watson, who died in a 1985 tractor accident. Merle's memory is honored by MerleFest, an annual North Carolina roots-music festival that the elder Watson hosted. Held on the last weekend in April since 1988, MerleFest draws more than 75,000 annually to Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C.
a big warm hug to all who are mourning the loss of Texas
Like marye I am also sorry for your loss. It's soo hard to lose a beloved pet.
congrats on 16 great years though...
My lil' dog Texas passed away today. He was 16 years old, he remembered the old days. God bless and keep our animal friends. Let's cherish them in the present and the past. Thanks for letting me share my loss. Cheers fellow music lovers!