American music legend Doc Watson is sadly no longer in the world. I am not the authority to speak on his virtuosic flat-picking guitar style, which transformed the way that instrument was used in bluegrass and country music. I do know that songs like the iconic “Tennessee Stud” and “Where Are You Going?” (a collaboration with another Appalachian great, Jean Ritchie) make me giddy with happiness:

Doc Watson was raised in northwestern North Carolina. The son of a farmer, he was blind from early childhood due to an illness. The American mountain music that Watson drew from and added to has the ability to sum up life as bitter suffering in a way that philosophers can only dream of — but there’s also always hope there, too. Take Watson’s haunting “Walk On Boy,” which is in his words “a good old song that borrows the legendary character John Henry” —

Doc Watson reminded us, “Ain’t nobody in this whole wide world gonna help you carry your load.” But his own music will live on to help lighten that load.


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