doc watson

Folk Legend Doc Watson Dies At 89

Doc Watson, the legendary folk singer whose astonishing guitar playing influenced generations of musicians, died today at hospital in Winston-Salem. He was 89.

ABC News reports that that Watson had colon surgery on May 24th and never fully recovered. Watson died surrounded by his family earlier today.

Doc was born Arthel Lane Watson in Stoney Fork Township, North Carolina, on March 3, 1923. He was blinded shortly after birth but that didn’t slow down his musical talents. Doc won seven Grammy awards during his musical career and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.

His rapid fast flat-picking guitar style transformed the guitar into a lead instrument.

Richard Watson told the Associated Press:

“Everybody that’s picked with you says you intimidate them, and that includes some of the best.”

Despite the fact that Watson’s musical career didn’t take off until his 40s, Doc Watson released more than 60 albums. In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented Watson with the National Medal of the Arts.

Clinton said:

“There may not be a serious, committed baby boomer alive who didn’t at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson.”

Here are a couple of songs to remember the late, great Doc Watson.

Were you a fan of Doc Watson?