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Encyclopedia > Doc Watson
Doc Watson
Merle Watson, c. 1979

Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson, born March 3, 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina, is a guitar player, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music. 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. Image File history File links Arthel Doc Watson, American musician. ... Image File history File links Arthel Doc Watson, American musician. ... photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran Doc Watson File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran Doc Watson File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... is the 62nd day of the year (63rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Categories: US geography stubs | Watauga County, North Carolina ... Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music which has its own roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music. ... Folk music can have a number of different meanings, including: Traditional music: The original meaning of the term folk music was synonymous with the term Traditional music, also often including World Music and Roots music; the term Traditional music was given its more specific meaning to distinguish it from the... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Blues is a vocal and instrumental form of music based on the use of the blue notes and a repetitive pattern that most often follows a twelve-bar structure. ... Gospel music is a musical genre characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a religious nature, particularly Christian. ... A portrait of Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget from the Strand Magazine, 1891 Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who first appeared in publication in 1887. ... Dr Watson (left) and Sherlock Holmes, by Sidney Paget. ...

Doc Watson, c. 1979

An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision prior to his first birthday. photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran Doc Watson File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran Doc Watson File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or psychological factors. ...

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. [1]

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. Eddy Arnold (May 15, 1918) is an American country music singer. ... Merle Travis (November 29, 1917 - October 20, 1983) is an American country and western singer, songwriter, and musician. ...

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. The Newport Folk Festival is an annual folk-oriented music festival founded in 1959 by George Wein, founder of the already-well-established Newport Jazz Festival, and his partner, Albert Grossman. ...

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. Year 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar). ...

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 Merleā€™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. We dont have an article called Flatpicking Start this article Search for Flatpicking in. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Fingerstyle guitar. ... Clarence White (June 7, 1944 - July 14, 1973) was a guitar player for The Byrds and the Kentucky Colonels. ... Tony Rice Tony Rice (born June 8, 1951 in Danville, Virginia) is an influential bluegrass guitarist. ...

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. C.F. Martin & Company (Martin) is a US guitar manufacturer that was established in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin. ... This official history of the Country Music Hall of Fame skirts the scandals well-documented by veteran Music Row historian Stacy Harris. ... Nickname: Location in Davidson County and the state of Tennessee Coordinates: Country United States State Tennessee Counties Davidson County Founded: 1779 Incorporated: 1806 Government  - Mayor Bill Purcell (D) Area  - City  526. ... Look up cutaway in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

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. Oral tradition or oral culture is a way of transmitting history, literature or law from one generation to the next in a civilization without a writing system. ... Categories: US geography stubs | Watauga County, North Carolina ...

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. Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... The North Carolina Award is the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. state of North Carolina. ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Induction to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor is managed by the International Bluegrass Music Association, and the Hall itself is maintained at the International Bluegrass Music Museum. ...

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. David Holt is a four-time Grammy Award winner for his work as a musician. ...

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. MerleFest is an annual Americana music festival held in Wilkesboro, North Carolina by Wilkes Community College at the end of April. ... Wilkesboro is a town in Wilkes County, North Carolina, United States. ...



  • Treasures Untold (1964)
  • Doc Watson (1964)
  • Doc Watson and Son (1965)
  • Southbound (1966)
  • Home Again (1966)
  • Old-Timey Concert (1967)
  • Ballads From Deep Gap (1967)
  • Doc Watson in Nashville: Good Deal! (1968)
  • Doc Watson on Stage (1971)
  • Doc and Merle Watson's Guitar Album (1972)
  • The Elementary Doctor Watson! (1972)
  • Then and Now (1973)
  • Two Days in November (1974)
  • Memories (1975)
  • Doc and the Boys (1976)
  • Lonesome Road (1977)
  • Tradition ("The Doc Watson Family") (1977)
  • Look Away (1979)
  • Doc & Merle's Guitar Album (1983)
  • Down South (1984)
  • Riding that Midnight Train (1986)
  • Portrait (1987)
  • On Praying Ground (1990)
  • Songs for Little Pickers (1990)
  • Songs from the Southern Mountains (1991)
  • Remembering Merle (1992)
  • Docabilly (1995)
  • Mel Doc & Del (1997)
  • Third Generation Blues (1999)
  • Legacy (2002)
  • Round the Table again (2002)
  • The Three Pickers (2003)

Collaboration - Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson

  • Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson at Folk City (1963)

Collaboration - Flatt and Scruggs and Doc Watson

  • Strictly Instrumental (1967)

Collaboration - Bill Monroe and Doc Watson

  • Live Duet Recordings 1963 - 1980 (1995)


  1. ^ http://www.misterguitar.com/bios/watsonbio.html

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

The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording [1]. This award is distinct from the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, which honors specific recordings rather than individuals, and... Bryan Sutton is an American musician. ...

External links

  • Merlefest official website

  Results from FactBites:
DOC WATSON (667 words)
Doc Watson is a legendary performer who blends his traditional Appalachian folk music roots with blues, country, gospel, and bluegrass to create his unique style and expansive repertoire.
Doc was born Arthel L. Watson in Deep Gap, NC (Watauga County) on March 23, 1923 into a family with a rich musical tradition.
Doc's early instrumental experience was with harmonica and a homemade banjo, but at age thirteen he taught himself the chords to "When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland" on a borrowed guitar.
MerleFest: An Americana Music Celebration (2239 words)
Doc's family was a musically inclined one and as he remembers, "There was the old phonograph around the house, and, of course, I heard the singing at the church, and my mother sang a few of the old ballads when she'd be knitting some of the boys' overalls or cooking or something or other.
Not only did Doc Watson come from a musical background, but he married into another family of music when, at the age of 23, he wed his 15-year-old third cousin Rosa Lee Carlton, whose father, Gaither Carlton, was a fiddler with whom Watson played regional hymns and ballads.
Rinzler's "discovery" of Watson led to Watson's touring the coffeehouse circuit in the Northeast and eventually took him to the stage of the Newport Folk Festival in 1963, where he was embraced enthusiastically by the folk community, young and old.
  More results at FactBites »



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