Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson (March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012) was an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel music. Doc Watson, Legendary Acoustic Guitarist and Singer, Dies at Age 89, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team, CMT Giants Kenny Rogers: A Musicares Benefit. He was elected to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Doc Watson, the Grammy-winning flatpicking guitarist, died Tuesday (May 29) in Winston-Salem, N.C., following a brief illness. A fan in the crowd shouted "Call him Doc!" Impressed by what he saw and heard, Rinzler booked Ashley’s band at gigs in New York City and Los Angeles. Watson won seven Grammy awards as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. [7], An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision before his second birthday. Arthel Lane Watson was born in Deep Gap, N.C., on March 2, 1923. It always featured Doc Watson as its host and principal performer. As popular as ever, Doc and Merle began playing as a trio with T. Michael Coleman on bass guitar in 1974. Watson hosted the annual MerleFest music festival held every April at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. 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. [2] Blind from a young age, he performed with his son, guitarist Merle Watson, for over 15 years until Merle's death in 1985 in an accident on the family farm. [20] Watson died on May 29, 2012 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center[21] of complications following the surgery at the age of 89. Today "Doc" Watson is accompanied by Merle's son, Richard Eddy Watson. presumably in reference to the literary character Sherlock Holmes's sidekick Doctor Watson. Generation also known as The Greatest Generation. [8] That move ignited Watson's career when he played on his first recording, Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's. Besides an increasingly heavy schedule of personal appearances, Watson also released a series of albums during the 1960s that displayed his fluid and precise flatpicking style and crisp, unadorned vocals. Six more Grammys followed, the last one awarded in 2006. [14] He subsequently began to tour as a solo performer and appeared at universities and clubs like the Ash Grove in Los Angeles. Counting collaborations and compilations, Watson released more than 60 albums and influenced other noted guitarists, including Norman Blake, Tony Rice, Dan Crary and Randy Scruggs. He was 89. He was 89. Watson was slightly injured on May 21 when he fell at his home in Deep Gap, N.C. Hospitalized at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., he was also diagnosed with an abdominal infection and underwent colon surgery on Thursday (May 25). Watson bought a $10 Stella guitar from Sears Roebuck with his earnings, while his brother bought a new suit. The trio toured the globe during the late seventies and early eighties, recording nearly fifteen albums between 1973 and 1985, and bringing Doc and Merle's unique blend of acoustic music to millions of new fans. Obituary Read. Doc Watson, a master storyteller, was one of the pioneering artists of roots-conscious Americana. He was not seriously injured in the fall, but an underlying medical condition prompted surgery on his colon. [6] He attended North Carolina's school for the visually impaired, the Governor Morehead School, in Raleigh, North Carolina. On April 29, 2012, Watson performed with the Nashville Bluegrass Band on the Creekside Stage at MerleFest. The economic boom and the Jazz Age were over, and America began the period called the Great Depression. Doc Watson - Biography. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com. Blinded by a vascular disease while still an infant, he nonetheless absorbed the songs and musical styles he heard from his family. Merle was widely recognized as one of the best flat-picking and slide guitarists of his generation. He received an award of the “Entertainer of the Year” from R.O.P.E awards in 2018. Thomas Leo “Doc” Watson, 85, of Hurricane passed away Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at home. Two years later Merle Fest was inaugurated in remembrance of him.[15]. A cause of death has not been released. Watson's flatpicking skills and knowledge of traditional American music were highly regarded. The two would perform and record regularly together until Merle’s death in a tractor accident in 1985. By Jesse Wood. Guestbook. Merle Watson has a strong set of credentials for a young musician. [18] The festival has continued after his death. In 1997, Watson received the National Medal of Arts from U.S. president Bill Clinton. Watson did not excel only on guitar mastery. Also of pivotal importance for his career was his February 11, 1961 appearance at P.S. Watson was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Discover what happened on this day. Richard Watson Death / Obituary – It is with sadness as we learnt on October 7, 2020, that Richard Watson was pronounced dead leaving loved ones in great sadness. Doc Watson is part of G.I. Born June 29, 1935, he was a son of the late James H. Watson and Elva Elizabeth Watson Stover. [23], In 2002, High Windy Audio released a multi-CD biographical album titled Legacy. You could hear the mountains of North Carolina in Doc Watson's music. In 1947, Doc married Rosa Lee Carlton, the daughter of popular fiddle player Gaither Carlton. Watson did not break any bones, but an underlying condition prompted the surgery. [25], In 2010, Blooming Twig Books published a comprehensive biography of Doc Watson, written by Kent Gustavson. [32] In 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Watson told one interviewer the first song he learned to play on the guitar was the Carter Family’s wistful “When the Roses Bloom Again in Dixieland.” Throughout his long career, he maintained a fondness for such Appalachian ballads, although his musical repertoire grew to extend well beyond that genre, eventually embracing blues, rockabilly (for which he played electric guitar) and country. The first song he learned to play on the guitar was "When Roses Bloom in Dixieland", first recorded by the Carter Family in 1930. Following the example of country guitarists Grady Martin and Hank Garland, Watson taught himself to play fiddle tunes on his Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. 71 in 1973) and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (No. 3. Watson was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, United States. [13] In 1985, Merle died in a tractor accident on his family farm. Multimedia. The book also goes into detail on the life, supporting role and ultimate death of Merle Watson. "[11] Watson proved to be a natural musical talent and within months was performing on local street corners playing songs from the Delmore Brothers, Louvin Brothers, and Monroe Brothers alongside his brother Linny. Known also for his distinctive and rich baritone voice, Watson 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. Among these were The Doc Watson Family (1963), Doc Watson & Son (1965) and Southbound (1966). [34], Article on Doc Watson and other western NC guitar players Wayback Machine, American guitarist, songwriter and singer, This article is about the musician. Ashley’s band was booked at a festival in Union Grove, N.C., when Watson caught the attention of folklorist Ralph Rinzler, who was also doubling as a member of the Greenbriar Boys. His song interpretations and echoes of the Appalachian “mountain” music of his childhood captivated also audiences around the world and across generations. Watson also performed, accompanied by Holt and Richard, at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco in 2009, as he had done in several previous years. Doc Watson cause of death In late May 2012, Watson was listed in critical condition but was responsive at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, after undergoing colon surgery. Watson was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Richard Watson was 48. Obituary. Portrait. [24] The collection won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. [16] Personal life and death. Watson was also an accomplished banjo player and sometimes accompanied himself on harmonica as well. He is a recipient of a 1988 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Gene Watson’s induction into the Hall of Fame of Texas Country Music took place in 2002, and in 2013, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Houston Music. He was born July 20, 1966, in Watauga County to Geneva Sarah Greene Watson Hennessee and the late Eddy Merle Watson. In 1994, Watson teamed up with musicians Randy Scruggs and Earl Scruggs to contribute the classic song "Keep on the Sunny Side" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization. [3][4][5], Watson was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, United States. [30], In 1986, Watson received the North Carolina Award and in 1994 he received a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award. By the time he reached his teens, however, he had settled on the guitar as his preferred musical vehicle. Musician. The name stuck. He lived in Deep Gap. Watson was generally joined onstage by his grandson (Merle's son) Richard, as well as longtime musical partners David Holt or Jack Lawrence. The 1920s represented an era of change and growth. Watson played guitar in both flatpicking and fingerpicking style, but is best known for his flatpick work. In 1988, three years after Merle Watson’s death, Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C., launched MerleFest to raise funds for a campus garden. We are yet to notice the deceased obituary details, all further details concerning this news will be updated upon confirmation. [19], In 1947, Doc married Rosa Lee Carlton, the daughter of popular fiddle player Gaither Carlton. Watson pioneered a fast and flashy bluegrass lead guitar style including fiddle tunes and crosspicking techniques which were adopted and extended by Clarence White, Tony Rice and many others. Blind from a young age, he performed with his son, guitarist Merle Watson, for over 15 years until Merle’s death in 1985 in an accident on the family farm. He went on to be a vital part of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s historic Will the Circle Be Unbroken project. Watson and Rosa Lee had two children — Eddy Merle (named after country music legends Eddy Arnold and Merle Travis) in 1949 and Nancy Ellen in 1951. He later transferred the technique to acoustic guitar, and playing fiddle tunes became part of his signature sound. Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson (March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012) was an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel music. When Ashley was sidelined by laryngitis, Watson stepped in as lead vocalist, demonstrating he had both the skills and charisma to work as a solo act. Doc Watson; Read Our 2012 Interview", "Doc Watson, Blind Guitar Wizard Who Influenced Generations, Dies at 89", "INTERVIEW- Doc's orders: No heavy metal at MerleFest", "Doc Watson, folk music legend, dies at 89", "Doc Watson Bluegrass Legend Dies at 89 in Winston-Salem", "Folk Pioneer Doc Watson Dead at 89 | Music News", "Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson (1923–2012) – Find A Grave Memorial", "24-February-2013 Kent Gustavson interview on Outsight Radio Hours", "Interview: Author Dr. Kent Gustavson Discusses His Doc Watson Biography "Blind But Now I See, "Doc Watson's daughter, ETSU professor create box set of legendary guitar player", Collection of Doc Watson performances from the Florida Folklife Collection, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Doc_Watson&oldid=996645622, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners, United States National Medal of Arts recipients, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 December 2020, at 21:22. He was born Arthel Lane Watson and picked up the nickname "Doc" at the suggestion of an audience member at a radio broadcast when he was in his teens. He performed with his son, guitarist Merle Watson, for over 15 years until Merle's death … A fan in the crowd shouted "Call him Doc!" On June 19, 2007, Watson was accompanied by Australian guitar player Tommy Emmanuel at a concert at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. This generation experienced much of their youth during the Great Depression and rapid t… [27][28][29], In April 2013, Open Records released a multi-disc collection of unreleased recordings by Doc Watson. CMT and all related titles and logos are trademarks of Country Music Television, Inc. Grammy-Winning Musician Was a Major Player on. On May 21, 2012, Watson fell at his home. Merle Watson was a great guitarist, particularly as a finger-picker and slide player, and Doc has maintained that his (Merle's) playing never got the recognition it deserved. © 2021 Country Music Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Watson won his first Grammy in 1973 for best ethnic or traditional recording for the album Then and Now. Eddy Merle Watson (February 8, 1949 – October 23, 1985) was an American folk and bluegrass guitarist. [8], In a 1989 radio interview with Terry Gross on the Fresh Air show on National Public Radio, Watson explained how he got his first guitar. Doc Watson was a walking advertisement for Gallagher guitars during his performances, and Gallagher has gotten e-mails from as far away as France and Sweden reacting to Watson's death. By the time Watson reached adulthood, he had become a proficient acoustic and electric guitar player.[12]. Doc Watson was an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and gospel music. Death. To wrap up, he became a well-known country singer and songwriter. Here are all of Doc Watson… [6] According to Watson 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. More in Music. Richard Watson, the grandson of musical icon, Doc Watson, and son of another great musician, the late Merle Watson, passed away on Monday evening at the age of 48. [26] An updated edition was released by Sumach-Red Books in March 2012. [10], Watson's earliest influences were country roots musicians and groups such as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Merle and "Doc" played music and recorded together for fifteen years before his untimely death in a tractor accident on his family farm. In 1967, Watson teamed up with the then wildly-popular Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs for the Columbia Records album Strictly Instrumental. It was named in honor of Merle Watson and is one of the most popular acoustic music festivals in the world, drawing over 70,000 music fans each year. In 1974, Gallagher created a customized G-50 line to meet Watson's preferred specifications, which bears the Doc Watson name. "Doc" is the host each spring for MerleFest, a huge concert celebrating traditional American music, held in Wilksboro, North Carolina, in Merle's honor. The decade was one of learning and exploration. [6], After the folk revival waned during the late 1960s, Watson's career was sustained by his performance of the Jimmy Driftwood song "Tennessee Stud" on the 1972 live album recording Will the Circle Be Unbroken. His father told him that if he and his brother David chopped down all the small dead chestnut trees along the edge of their field, he could sell the wood to a tannery. Watson’s newest release is this live recording of some of his earliest shows in New York City, 1962 in Greenwich Village, when he was one of the rising stars of the budding folk revival. In his later life, Watson scaled back his touring schedule. He continued performing with Doc Watson at various venues until Doc’s death in 2012. Photos. The farewell party live performance . [3][13] During his time with Jack Williams, Doc also supported his family as a piano tuner. [1] Watson won seven Grammy awards as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. [22] He is buried in the Merle and Doc Watson Memorial Cemetery, Deep Gap, Watauga County, North Carolina, with his wife and son. His guitar playing skills, combined with his authenticity as a mountain musician, made him a highly influential figure during the folk music revival. The band seldom had a fiddle player, but was often asked to play at square dances. April 29, 2012 - Merlefest. In 2004, the Recording Academy honored Watson with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. Watson also appeared on 2002’s sequel, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. 41 in Greenwich Village. Doc Watson died on May 29th, 2012 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, following complications from abdominal surgery. He was 89. [6] Watson recorded his first solo album in 1964 and began performing with his son Merle, the same year. In 1963, Watson played the fabled Newport Folk Festival, and his son Merle joined his act the following year. The book, titled Blind But Now I See: The Biography of Music Legend Doc Watson, features never before published content regarding Watson's life and career, gleaned from interviews with Watson's friends and collaborators, including Norman Blake, Sam Bush, members of the Seeger family, Michelle Shocked and many others. Doc Watson, the Grammy-winning flatpicking guitarist, died Tuesday (May 29) in Winston-Salem, N.C., following a brief illness. 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