We were saddened to hear of the passing of Doc Watson yesterday. The North Carolina musician influenced a generation of musicians with his flatpicking and fingerpicking style, influencing generations of musicians with his folk, country, bluegrass, and Gospel songs.
In the 1950s and 60s, Doc helped pioneer guitar as a lead instrument (prior to that, banjo or fiddle often took the lead). He brought Apppalachian music to the masses.
From a New York Times story:
“To me the old-time fiddling, the old-time ballads — there never was anything prettier and there never will be,” he said.
Born and raised in Deep Gap, North Carolina, Watson came from a musical family and started playing the banjo by the age of 5. He learned how to play the guitar at the North Carolina Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh (he lost his eyesight at age one).
Known for songs like "Deep River Blues," "Shady Grove," and "Tennessee Stud," Watson won eight Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2004.
Though his music reached around the world, he spent most of his life in Deep Gap. Today, many are remembering the humble guitarist and his profound influence on music.
From Entertainment Weekly:
"Country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs said Tuesday evening, 'An old ancient warrior has gone home.'
'He prepared all of us to carry this on,' Skaggs added. 'He knew he wouldn’t last forever, He did his best to carry the old mountain sounds to this generation.'”
Thank you for the music, Doc.