Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vale Doc Watson

It's always sad when the best ones go, even when they live to a ripe old age.

Today has brought the passing of Doc Watson, whose influence on folk and country flat-picking guitar has resonated and continues to resonate through so much of the music I have long loved. There must be millions of people around the world, like me, whose enjoyment of life has been enhanced by what Doc Watson brought to the guitar and to guitar music over so many decades.

When I was an undergraduate student in Christchurch, New Zealand -- at a time when there was a different kind of shaking going on -- the local folk, country folk, country guitar, and bluegrass maestros, like Jae Renaut and Jimmy Doak, all paid homage to Doc Watson. Some days, for days at a time, all I wanted to do was listen to Jae flat-picking. It was hard to get that music in New Zealand in those days. You had to try import it yourself. It took months if you could even find some place that stocked it. Mostly, it was easier to hit the clubs and listen to to local talent invoking Doc Watson's spirit.

It was easier to pick up on musicians influenced by Doc Watson who were part of more 'commercial' outfits: Clarence White (tragically briefly) with the Byrds (and the Kentucky Colonels), and Ricky Skaggs, with Emmylou's wonderful Hot Band.

There are some times when the nearest thing to heaven is a pint of beer and a fast flatpicking guitarist. Doc Watson brought it closer to heaven.

You shed light in to our minds, well shared.
Dear Colin and/or Michele--

I'm the co-author of the Tony Rice biography (with Tim Stafford from Blue Highway). I'm also working as an editor for the International Bluegrass Music Association, and that's why I'm writing to you.

I am currently working on a big tribute to Doc Watson for the July issue of the IBMA newsletter, which is read around the world. I saw your lovely blog post about Doc, and I'm wondering if you might be willing to share a few thoughts and memories of him with the global bluegrass community for July issue of the IBMA newsletter, to be included with tributes from fans and musicians all over the world.

You needn't write much--100 words or less is fine, but more is good too--and I'm happy to use any photos you might want to share as well (if they're images you shot yourself). Feel free to respond to my email at caroline@ibma.org. I'd love to hear from you by June 20 or so if possible. Thank you so much for your consideration; I hope to hear from you soon.

Caroline Wright

Interim Publication Editor/Special Projects Director
International Bluegrass Music Association
Tel: 808/206-3459
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