RIP Doc Watson

Jimmy Jacobs jacobslawoffice@GMAIL.COM
Tue May 29 21:01:41 EDT 2012

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 -- 8:38 PM EDT

Doc Watson, Renowned Guitarist and Folk Singer, Dies

Doc Watson, the guitarist and folk singer whose flat-picking style elevated
the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music, and
whose interpretations of traditional American music profoundly influenced
generations of folk and rock guitarists, died on Tuesday in Winston-Salem,
N.C. He was 89.

Mr. Watson, who had been blind since he was a year old, died in a hospital
after recently undergoing abdominal surgery, The Associated Press quoted a
hospital spokesman as saying.

Mr. Watson, who came to national attention during the folk music revival of
the early 1960s, injected a note of authenticity into a movement awash in
protest songs and bland renditions of traditional tunes. In a sweetly
resonant, slightly husky baritone, he sang old hymns, ballads and country
blues he had learned growing up in the northwestern corner of North
Carolina, which has produced fiddlers, banjo pickers and folk singers for

His mountain music came as a revelation to the folk audience, as did his
virtuoso guitar playing. Unlike most country and bluegrass musicians, who
thought of the guitar as a secondary instrument for providing rhythmic
backup, Mr. Watson executed the kind of flashy, rapid-fire melodies
normally played by a fiddle or a banjo. His style influenced a generation
of young musicians learning to play the guitar as folk music achieved
national popularity.

“He is single-handedly responsible for the extraordinary increase in
acoustic flat-picking and fingerpicking guitar performance,” said Ralph
Rinzler, the folklorist who discovered Mr. Watson in 1960. “His
flat-picking style has no precedent in earlier country music history.”

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