Watson, Doc

Watson, Doc (Arthel Lane Watson), 1923–2012, American country-music singer and musician, b. Stony Fork, N.C. Blind from infancy, he learned to play the harmonica, banjo, and guitar in his youth. His flat-picking style on the acoustic guitar and his adaptation of traditional fiddle tunes to the guitar became classics of bluegrass and country solo playing, and his interpretation of folk and country classics, both authentic and virtuosic, influenced many folk and rock guitarists. His early recordings for Folkways in the 1960s have become classics. Watson performed with his son, Merle, from the 60s until Merle's death in 1985. The duo's most famous recorded performance is probably on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken (1972). In 1988 Watson founded MerleFest, one of the largest folk festivals in the South, held annually in Walkesboro, N.C.

See biography by F. Metting (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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