Monday, October 15, 2007

Doc Watson

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”
~Plato




Doc Watson
From Wikipedia
Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson (born March 3, 1923) is an American guitar player, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music.
Doc Watson was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina. According to Doc on his three CD biographical recording "Legacy", he got the nickname "Doc" during a live radio broadcast when the announcer remarked that his given name Arthel was odd and he needed an easy nickname to go by. A fan in the crowd shouted "Call him Doc!" presumably in reference to the Sherlock Holmes sidekick Doctor Watson. The name stuck ever since.
An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision before his first birthday. He attended North Carolina's school for the visually impaired, The Governor Morehead School, in Raleigh NC.
The first song Doc ever learned to play was "When Roses Bloom in Dixieland". His father was so proud that he took Doc to the store and bought him his first guitar, a $12 Stella. Doc proved to be a natural and within months he was busking on local street corners playing Delmore, Louvin and Monroe Brothers' duets alongside his brother Linny. By the time he reached his adult years Doc had become a prolific acoustic and electric guitar player in spite of his handicap.
In 1947, Doc married Rosa Lee Carlton. Rosa Lee is the daughter of popular fiddle player Gaither Carlton.
Doc and Rosa Lee gave birth to two children - Eddy Merle (named after country music legends Eddy Arnold and Merle Travis) in 1949 and Nancy Ellen in 1951.
In 1953, Doc joined the Jack Williams' country and western swing band on electric guitar. He also supported his family as a piano tuner.

In 1960 as the folk boom grew, Doc took the advice of folk musicologist Ralph Rinzler and began playing acoustic guitar and banjo exclusively. That move ignited Doc's career when he played on his first recording, "Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's". He also began to tour as a solo performer at popular clubs that featured folk music and would eventually get his big break earning rave reviews for his performance at the renowned Newport Folk Festival in 1963.

He began playing with his son Merle in 1964 and the pair would perform until 1985 when Merle was tragically killed in a tractor accident.

After the "folk boom" waned during the late 1960s, Doc's career was sustained by his performance of "Tennessee Stud" on the 1972 live album recording Will the Circle Be Unbroken. As popular as ever, Doc and Merle began playing as a trio, with T. Michael Coleman on bass, in 1974. The trio toured the globe during the late seventies and early eighties, recorded nearly fifteen albums between 1973 and 1985, and brought Doc and Merle’s unique blend of acoustic music to millions of new fans.
Doc plays guitar in both flatpicking and fingerpicking style, but is best known for his flatpick work. His guitar playing skills combined with his authenticity as a mountain musician made him a highly influential figure during the folk music revival. He pioneered the fast and flashy bluegrass lead guitar style which has been adopted and extended by others such as Clarence White and Tony Rice. He is also an accomplished banjo player and in the past has accompanied himself on harmonica as well.
Doc played a D-18 model C.F. Martin & Company (aka. "Martin") guitar on his earliest recordings. In 1968 he began a relationship with Gallagher Guitars when he started playing their G-50 model. His first Gallagher, which Doc refers to as "Old Hoss", is on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1974, Gallagher created a customized G-50 line to meet Doc's preferred specifications. That Gallagher production model bears the Doc Watson name. In 1991, Gallagher customized a personal cutaway guitar for Doc that he plays to this day and refers to as "Donald" in honor of Gallagher guitar's second generation proprietor and builder, Don Gallagher.

Known also for his distinctive and rich baritone voice, he has over the years developed a vast repertoire of mountain ballads which he learned via the oral tradition of his home area in Deep Gap, North Carolina. His affable manner, humble nature and delightful wit have endeared him to his fans nearly as much as his musical talent has.
In 1986 he received the North Carolina Award and in 2000 he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor. In 1997, Doc received the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton.


In recent years, Doc has scaled back his touring schedule. However, he still plays various shows around the United States to adoring audiences. As of 2007, he is generally joined on stage by his grandson (Merle's son) Richard, as well as longtime musical partners David Holt or Jack Lawrence. Most recently on June 19th, he was accompanied by Australian guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel at the Bass Preformance Hall.

He is host to the annual MerleFest music festival held every April at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The festival features a vast array of acoustic style music focusing on the folk, bluegrass, blues and old time music genres. It's named in honor of Merle Watson and is one of the most popular acoustic music festivals in the world, drawing over 85,000 music fans each year.
Grammy awards
* 1973 Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording

(Including Traditional Blues): Doc Watson for Then And Now
* 1974 Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording:

Merle Watson & Doc Watson for Two Days In November
* 1979 Best Country Instrumental Performance:
Doc Watson & Merle Watson for Big Sandy/Leather Britches
* 1986 Best Traditional Folk Recording:
Doc Watson for Riding The Midnight Train
* 1990 Best Traditional Folk Recording:
Doc Watson for On Praying Ground
* 2002 Best Traditional Folk Album:
Doc Watson & David Holt for Legacy
* 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2006 Best Country Instrumental Performance:
Bryan Sutton & Doc Watson for Whiskey Before Breakfast track from Not Too Far From The Tree by Bryan Sutton
Now get ready for some AWESOME VIDEO!!!


And yes you did see "Doc" on this blog before in video #3 HERE

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16 Comments:

Blogger poopie said...

I believe I saw a couple of Scruggs' and Krauss in there too ;)

October 15, 2007 12:21 AM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

Another rich and wonderful post Raggedy...Doc Watson is a "ONE OF A KIND" Performer.....Delightful and such a consumate musician, too. Hearing him sing and hearing him pick....Sublime!

October 15, 2007 4:46 AM  
Blogger Jeanette said...

Hi Dear Raggedy, sorry its been a while since my last visit had computer problems. great music post..

October 15, 2007 8:55 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Wonderful Raggedy!! I love this kind of music and it doesn't get any better than having Ricky and Allison with him!!

October 15, 2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger Gattina said...

Unfortunately I don't know "Doc" and the songs are also unknown to me, but sound very nice !

October 15, 2007 2:33 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hi Raggedy. I'll take Earl Scruggs any day. He was really good playing with Lester Flat.

Stay cool! :-)
..

October 15, 2007 3:08 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Oh yes, those guys were looking for one of the golfer's lost ball. It was a tournament and unless that could be classified as a 'man-made' hazzard it would cost his team two strokes.
And this was a play off hole so their team may have lost the game if he had to take the two stroke penalty.

Again, stay cool! :-)

October 15, 2007 3:10 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I had never heard of Doc Watson until a time in the early 60's when I was walking by some stuff set out for the trash man (in Norfolk) and there were about 10 albums. I took them home, and one of Doc's was in the pile. He is fantastic!

October 16, 2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

You're always a font of information and inspiration ;)

October 17, 2007 12:10 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Aw, I knew there was a reason that I love you. This has got to be the No. 1 blog of the year. You are a princess for giving me all these links, all of which I played to the bitter end.

Kiss, kiss.

October 17, 2007 6:53 PM  
Blogger Hale McKay said...

Great post and very informative. I have to admit though that I cannot remember ever hearing of him.

Flat & Scruggs used to perform locally in my home town in West Virginia when I was growing up (Pre-The Beverly Hillbillies theme).

The first time my family went to the Grand Ole Opry it was on complimentary tickets from Earl and Lester.

It's been good to see you posting and commenting.

October 17, 2007 9:39 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

My kind of music. Thanks. I really liked the first one especially.

October 17, 2007 10:26 PM  
Blogger Leann said...

thanks for sharing this with us. a very remarkable man.
((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))

October 19, 2007 7:47 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

I had never heard of Doc Watson but glad you intruduced him to me. :D

October 20, 2007 10:45 PM  
Blogger Saoirse Daily said...

One the greats! Thanks for sharing. One of these days I am going to learn how to add Youtube on my blog. Have a geat week.

October 21, 2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger Tamara said...

I'm having a tantrum!! I CAN'T POST A MESSAGE!! I CAN'T POST A MESSAGE"!!!
Gooood grief! I've tried for 30 minutes via-sorry-ass slow speed to send a message on your latest post...but to no avail.So I gave up and scrolled down HERE.
OK...guess it has to go here:I'm given NO choice(lol)
The Carol Bruce story was touching.What a classically beautiful lady.
Oh,and isn't Sam Kinison the guy that could let out those screeching yells?I think soo...right?
I like all the quotes.Especially the one that is SO true,where he's talking about if you still have $13,000 to go to rehab with...you haven't hit your bottom...or wait,he said if you can come up w/ $13,000.you don't have a problem yet!Had to get that straight....but ohhhn so true.Yea,he was a cool guy.Thanks for keeping us aware of the REAL people out there.People that have been-there done-that,but the rest of us can learn from it.
hugs,Raggedy.
p.s-tried to get this up a date or 2,but couldn't.sorry

October 26, 2007 3:53 AM  

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