One of the best biographies of Doc Watson was written by Dan Miller of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. It appeared in the September-October 1998 issue of the magazine (which focused on Doc Watson), and also as an introduction to the instruction book "Legacy of Doc Watson" by Steve Kaufman (Mel Bay Publications).
We are pleased to offer this biography here at Doc's Guitar in Adobe Acrobat format. To view it, you'll need the Acrobat Reader plug-in for your browser.
The Milestones project offers a unique and intimate view of Doc Watson's life. The project was produced by Nancy Watson, Doc Watson's daughter, who spent over a decade on it before its release in 2013.
It's the story of the Watson family - told told in songs, narratives and photographs. The project features 94 previously unreleased tracks and 600 family photos arranged into 50 collages created by Nancy. The collection was created entirely from within the family, with input from Doc himself. This is truly a remarkable project that brings you inside the Watson family and the traditions that shaped Doc's music.
After several years of sales, the remaining copies of Milestones have been returned to the estate of Doc Watson. Please contact Andrea Capau at 828-264-6126 for more information about obtaining a copy.
Legacy is a 3-CD set in which Doc talks about
his life - and music. David Holt interviews Doc on the first two
CDs and joins with Doc for a concert on the third disc. The conversation
between Doc and David is like they are sitting right in your living
room - you feel like you're right there with them. This is the
closest thing to an audio biography of Doc that you will find,
and the concert on the third disc is just icing on the cake. If
you're a serious Doc Watson fan, Legacy is a must-have addition
to your collection.
See Legacy album information and ordering information
|1923||Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson born in Stoney Fork Township, near Deep Gap, North Carolina, on March 3, 1923|
|1947||Doc marries Rosa Lee Carlton|
|1949||Son Eddy Merle Watson born (Named after Eddy Arnold and Merle Travis)|
|1951||Daughter Nancy Ellen Watson born|
|1953||Doc gets a job playing electric lead guitar in Jack Williams country and western swing band|
|1960||Doc is "discovered" when Ralph Rinzler meets him while in North Carolina to record Clarence "Tom" Ashley|
|1961||Doc, Gaither Carlton, Tom Ashley, Fred Price, and Clint Howard travel to New York to perform a concert sponsored by Friends of Old Time Music|
|1962||Doc's first solo appearance, at Gerde's Folk City|
|1964||Merle starts learning the guitar; in June he plays backup guitar for Doc at the Berkeley Folk Festival|
|1973||Doc receives his first Grammy award. This is followed by five more Grammys over the years|
|1985||Merle Watson dies tragically in a tractor accident on the night of October 23rd|
|1988||Doc is awarded the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts|
|1988||The first Merlefest is held in remembrance of Merle Watson|
|1997||Doc receives the the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton|
|2004||Doc is awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences at the 2004 Grammy Awards show|
|2012||Doc passes away on May 29 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC following abdominal surgery. Read Press Release.
Doc's wife Rosa Lee passes away six months later on November 22. Read article in Watauga Democrat
|2015||Richard Watson, Doc's grandson and Merle's son, passed away on June 1, 2015. He was 48. A guitarist, Richard performed with Doc at MerleFest and other venues from 1991 until Doc’s death in 2012. Read article in Watauga Democrat.|
by Mitch Greenhill, Folklore Productions
Doc Watson was laid to rest yesterday (Sunday, June 3, 2012), following a moving service at Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap, North Carolina. Pastor Larry Young and Reverend Gary Watson, Doc's nephew, presided before an overflow crowd of mourners, who came to pay their respects to the musical giant.
At the family's request, Charles Welch and Wayne Henderson sang "When I Lay My Burden Down," followed by the Krüger Brothers and then the group that assembles at Merlefest each year under the "My Friend Merle" banner: Sam Bush, T. Michael Coleman, Mitch Greenhill, David Holt, Jack Lawrence (playing Doc's old Martin), Jeff Little, Cliff Miller, and Joe Smothers. Songs and stories brought laughter and tears. T. Michael Coleman and Doc's friend Robert Doyle told of days on the road. David Holt recalled how, at every concert, someone would cry out "We love you, Doc," and that became the afternoon's rallying cry. I spoke of Doc's influence in the world beyond the hills that surrounded us. Cliff Miller recalled Doc as a great provider, to his family and to us. We all agreed that Doc had profoundly affected and altered our lives.
Randy Travis sent a special recorded message and a new recording of "Dr. Jesus," a song that Doc loved.
Pastor Young and Reverend Watson reaffirmed Doc's strong religious faith. At the graveside, a smaller group of family and close friends sang "I'll Fly Away." As the sun peeked from behind gathering clouds in the brisk mountain springtime, we huddled close to each other, seeking comfort from the big loss that had suddenly torn our lives.
Photo of Doc's funeral service at Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap.
Many of the musicians here shared their memories and picked out songs in his honor.
Tributes to Doc