Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson (March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012) was an American guitarist, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music. Watson won seven Grammy awards as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Watson's flatpicking skills and knowledge of traditional American music are highly regarded. He performed with his son Merle for over 15 years until Merle's death in 1985, in an accident on the family farm
(born March 2, 1923, Stony Fork, near Deep Gap, N.C., U.S.) U.S. country music singer, banjoist, and guitarist. Blind from birth, Watson grew up on a farm and learned to play guitar, banjo, and harmonica as a child. Though he did not record professionally until he was in his late 30s, he quickly rose to prominence with his renditions of traditional and popular tunes backed by his virtuoso flat-picking guitar style. He appeared at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival to great acclaim. He performed for many years with his son Merle
Watson was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina. According to Watson on his three CD biographical recording Legacy, he got the nickname "Doc" during a live radio broadcast when the announcer remarked that his given name Arthel was odd and he needed an easy nickname. A fan in the crowd shouted "Call him Doc!" presumably in reference to the literary character Sherlock Holmes' sidekick Doctor Watson. The name had stuck ever since
A statement on Folklore Productions International's website said the 89-year-old performer was "resting and responsive" following his surgery on Thursday. "The family appreciates everyone's prayers and good wishes," the statement said. Watson, a singer of bluegrass, country, blues and gospel music, is famous for his flatpicking style on the guitar and his interpretations of folk songs from bygone eras. A Folklore employee said Watson had fallen earlier in the week at his home in Deep Gap, North Carolina, and was unable to get up without assistance. He was taken to a local hospital, where his condition was discovered to be more serious than the fall, according to the Folklore office. On Thursday, he was transferred to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem for surgery, the Folklore employee said. Watson has won seven Grammy Awards, in addition to the Grammy for lifetime achievement he received in 2004. Most recently, he won in 2006 in the category of best country instrumental performance for his playing on "Whiskey Before Breakfast." For much of his career, he toured and recorded with his son, Merle Watson. Doc Watson's most popular recordings include the songs "Tom Dooley," "Shady Grove" and "Rising Sun Blues."