From our childhood we have different smells, sounds and taste that take us back to days with our families, loved ones, friends. For me, and most assuredly for my brother and mother as well, that sound is the guitar picking of the Legendary Doc Watson. Although, when I was a kid and then teenager I would roll my eyes in the back seat when my Dad managed to find the bluegrass station on the radio.
It wasn’t till I left home for College, heading to the Blue Ridge Mountains to realize how lucky I was to be exposed to such talent. Boone, North Carolina and the surrounding communities are home for MANY legends of folk and bluegrass. It is a place where you can see really famous artist in really small, personal spaces. It was there that I got to see, hear and feel the energy up close and personal to the likes of Doc Watson. My first live bluegrass performance was on the university campus, in a small theater (Valborg Theater) with Doc Watson and friends. I was in the first row, center. Immediately I felt gratitude and joy for finding something real to connect with my Dad, aka “Daddy” said with a swift southern slur.
From that moment on I signed myself up for Merle Fest, contra dancing and fiddle lessons. I don’t do any of those things now. My fiddle sadly fell apart when we moved to Jackson, WY and I neglected it for months. My partner (or husband) doesn’t contra dance (I knew that when I married him) and I couldn’t keep up with Merle Fest. However, I regularly throw some Doc tunes in, blare Bluegrass Junction on Satelite radio and often talk bluegrass with my Dad. We still have that bond after 15 years.
So, to say the least, it was with great sadness, like a closing of a chapter in my own book, to lose Doc Watson on Tuesday at the ripe young age of 89. He touched many lives. Influenced many guitar players. Was a humble, honest man who loved his family and adored playing music. He was a legend before he passed away.
I pulled out our Doc, Del and Mac CD on tuesday. I’ve been playing it for RCB so she knows. She promised to make granddaddy Rick Doc Watson Band Aids and Stickers so he won’t be so sad about losing his favorite mugician, as she calls him! And yes, he did work magic when he played the guitar.
Thank you Doc! Thank you for the bond with my family. Thank you for sharing your happiness and your sorrows. Thank you for being a bad ass guitar player!