Doc Watson Gone at 89

Image634739956399897650A simple statement on his official spokesperson’s website says:
“Regret to announce that Doc Watson died this evening. More details shortly.
Rest in peace.”

That’s the way the world was informed of the death of one of the greatest acoustic guitar players to live in this and the last century.

It’s the sad message that folk, bluegrass and guitar lovers everywhere have been dreading since late last week when it was learned that Doc Watson was in serious condition and hospitalized. Great as he was, somehow it is befitting though. Such a simple message for a man who just last year reminded us all the he, “…was just one of the people.” - the inscription he requested on the statue erected in his honor in downtown Boone, NC where he often played as a young man.

Doc Watson was a seven-time Grammy-Winner and recipient of the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He also was honored with the National Medal of the Arts in 1997.

He performed with his son Merle for over 15 years until Merle's death in 1985, in an accident on the family farm.

Watson was adept at guitar in both flatpicking and fingerpicking style, but is known more for his flatpick style. His guitar skills, combined with his authenticity as a mountain musician, made him a highly influential figure during the folk music revival.

Watson is credited with pioneering a fast and flashy bluegrass, lead guitar style that including fiddle tunes and crosspicking techniques which were adopted and extended by Clarence White, Tony Rice
and many others.

Watson is also an accomplished banjo player and in the past has accompanied himself on harmonica as well.

With his distinctive and extremely pleasing baritone voice, Watson 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 endeared him to his fans nearly as much as his musical talent did.

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