We’re sad to report that bluegrass pioneer Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson passed away this afternoon after complications from abdominal surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The seven-time Grammy-winning picker was known for the speed and fluidity which he brought to bluegrass guitar playing. Watson also founded Merlefest, an annual music festival held in Wilkesboro, which was named after his son Merle who died in a 1985 tractor accident.
[Photo by Boonejag75]
Doc, who was blind, was not only an exceptional guitarist, he also sang and was an impressive harmonica and banjo player. Over the course of his remarkable career, Watson put out over 50 albums and collaborated with a who’s who of legendary performers including Chet Atkins, Flatts & Scruggs, Taj Mahal, Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs. Doc Watson was 89.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Doc’s family and the bluegrass community.