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Kitty Dunn

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Farewell Doc Watson, flatpicker extraordinaire

Flatpicking folk musician Doc Watson is being remembered today for his amazing flatpicking guitar style that influenced many, and intimidated others. And his smooth baritone voice was nothing to sneeze at either.

Blind since the age of one, Watson first learned how to play the harmonica at age 6, and learned banjo at 11, on a guitar his father made with the skin of the family cat who had died at age 16. (Creepy, or cool?)  He learned to play guitar at a school for the blind in Raleigh N.C. on a Stella guitar his dad bought him for $12.

Hey, my first guitar was a Stella too...his must have had some magic in it for him to learn to play that well. Or he practiced, one of the two.

You can read more about his amazing life here.

A lot of folks first heard Doc Watson's music on the amazing Will the Circle Be Unbroken album, a three album set that came out in 1972. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band got together all these old country and bluegrass performers and basically let them go..with most songs recorded on the first or second take, with delightful stage banter included.

So many of those performers have passed on (Earl Scruggs, Mother Maybelle Carter, Merle Travis, Roy Acuff), perhaps they're having a big old jam on the other side!

I'm lucky enough to have seen Doc Watson play the Madison Civic Center in the 1990s, and I was impressed at his ability. And I have to thank my boyfriend Mike for exposing me to his music. Mike said that Will the Circle Be Unbroken album was the one present he asked for in 1973, and he listened to it over and over again. Had I never met Mike I may have missed out on that music entirely.





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People : Doc WatsonEarl ScruggsMaybelle CarterMerle TravisMikeRoy Acuff


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05/30/2012 10:31AM
Farewell Doc Watson, flatpicker extraordinaire
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