RIP: Doc Watson, 1923-2012

Doc Watson

We are deeply saddened to report that the legendary guitarist, singer and songwriter Doc Watson died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He had been hospitalized since suffering a recent fall in his Deep Gap home. He was 89 years old.

Although blind since he was an infant, Arthel Lane Watson almost single-handedly brought his unique flat-picking guitar style into the realm of folk and country music, influencing generations of musicians.

Nippertown fans were fortunate that Doc Watson graced our local stages regularly, most recently at The Egg in Albany in August of 2010. He was, in short, a true American treasure.

Doc Watson obituary at The New York Times
LIVE: Doc Watson @ The Egg, 8/1/10 at
Doc Watson, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?
Michael Eck’s 2010 interview with Doc Watson at The Times Union

  1. PK Miller says

    Thanks, Greg. We are losing so many of the Immortals. As I write this, I’m listening to Terry Gross’ NPR program tribute to Doc. I’m glad Pete Seeger is still with us, is sound mind and body. Believe all the other Weavers are long gone. (Heard them at Carnegie Hall when I was too young to understand their “politics” but certainly not their MUSIC!) I heard Doc–and many other Immortals–The Duke, Ella, Sarah, Stevie Wonder,thankfully still with us, at a Chicago Blues Fest ca 1972.

  2. Bowtie says

    My Mount Rushmore of traditional music:
    –Doc Watson – George Washington
    –Earl Scruggs – Abe Lincoln
    –Maybelle Carter – Thomas Jefferson
    –Uncle Dave Macon – Teddy Roosevelt

    Doc’s playing was so clean and precise that every note was a note. Fantastic picker but not a show off in any way. Payed more dues than can be tallied and lived in near poverty and obscurity until discovered in the folk heyday 60’s. Thanks Doc.

  3. Richard Brody says

    I saw Doc a number of times, but my first time was about forty years ago when I lived in North Carolina. Doc was great that night, as always, but I remember him commenting that his home was eight miles down the road, and that it was real nice to have dinner with your family, go play, and then drive fifteen minutes to your own bed. Rest in peace Doc.

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