I'd think learning to play the guitar would be very confusing for sighted people.
Guitar players can earn their wings…
This week’s article is to honor North Carolina’s very own, Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson (1923-2012). Before his first birthday, “Doc” Watson got an eye infection in both of his eyes, causing him to go blind for the rest of his life. This did stop him from pursing a musical career as a country and western guitar player. In his early years as a musician, he supported his family playing the guitar and as a piano tuner.
According to his biographical CD, “Legacy,” his stage name was assumed during a radio program when the broadcaster commented on the peculiarity of his first name, Athel, to which an audience member tagged him, “Doc!” Doc Watson did not seem to be inclined to the persona of fame, as he once stated, “I feel about me like I'm one of the working people, just like you, and everybody else. I don't fit the part of a celebrity.”
His son, Merle Watson was also a guitarist, tragically passed away from an accident in 1985. He was the namesake of the festival known to bluegrass and old-timey enthusiasts worldwide as, “Merlefest,” which started in 1988 and has grown to mass proportions over the last twenty-four years. Every year in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, this three-day music celebration features artists from all over the country on fourteen stages.
I would consider Doc Watson a musicologist, or musical scholar, who studied and perpetuated American folk songs into a new generation. During the 1960’s folk music revival, Doc played an integral role by recording many standard versions of songs still used today.
Calling all students songwriters, musicians and singers! We are looking for submissions to be showcased in our Cleveland County Artists feature: