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Willie Watson to Perform at App Theatre on Thursday, June 16; Debut Concert is First Event on Mast Store Americana Music Series

Fresh from his celebrated appearance at Merlefest, popular folksinger Willie

Watson, co-founder of the Old Crow Medicine Show, will make his long-awaited debut at the

Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16 as a prelude

to the Boonerang Music and Arts Festival that weekend. Tickets go on sale to the public at 11

a.m. on Tuesday, May 10 at an “early bird” price of $10 per seat, and rising to $15 per ticket on

May 12, 2022.

“An Evening With Willie Watson” is the first event on the newly-announced Mast Store

Americana Music Series on the Doc Watson Stage of the Appalachian Theatre, and is intended

to be an ongoing, year-round program of artists and events celebrating the genre unique to our


Mast General Store President Lisa Cooper, said, “We are excited to be the naming sponsor of

this music series and to have as its first act an individual who was discovered by Doc Watson

himself. I can’t help but think Doc would be proud to see this performance on his hometown

theatre stage.”

ATHC board chair Keith Martin noted the significance of this sponsorship to the historic venue.

“Mast General Store was the very first donor to contribute to the ‘Save The Appalachian Theatre’

effort, and was instrumental – pun intended – in the naming of our Doc Watson Stage. Now, with

the underwriting of our new Americana Music Series, their name is linked with a musical art form

beloved in our community almost as much as the Mast Store itself.”

According to the Americana Music Association (AMA), this artform is defined as, “Contemporary

music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country,

roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that

lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic

instruments are often present and vital, Americana music often uses a full electric band.”

Watson is a folksinger in the classic sense: a singer, storyteller, and traveler, with a catalog of

songs that bridge the gap between the past and present. A celebrated musician with a rich vocal

range, Watson is a top interpreter of the folk canon and a highly skilled multi-instrumentalist.

Watson was a co-founder of the Old Crow Medicine Show, whose platinum-selling music helped

jumpstart the 21st century folk revival.

Mark Freed, Director of Cultural Resources for the Town of Boone and the catalyst behind the

Boonerang Music and Arts Festival, said, “I love that the Appalachian Theatre will be kicking off

their Mast Store Americana Music series with Willie Watson on the Thursday of Boonerang

weekend. Willie Watson is no stranger to Boone and fits in perfectly with the festival’s community

homecoming theme.”

For additional details about the Boonerang Music and Arts Festival, go to


For nearly two decades, Watson has made modern folk music that is rooted in older traditions

with a catalog of songs that bridge the gap between the past and present. On his album

“Folksinger Volume 2,” he acts as a modern interpreter of older songs, passing along his own

version of the music that came long before him.

This includes Southern gospel, railroad songs, delta blues, Irish fiddle tunes, and Appalachian

music, carrying on a rich tradition in folk music: the sharing and swapping of old songs. Many of

these compositions were popularized by artists like Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry

Lewis, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. According to his publicist, “The songs don’t actually belong

to those artists, though. They don’t belong to anyone. Instead, they’re part of the folk canon,

passed from generation to generation by singers like Watson.”

And what a singer Watson is. With a quick vibrato and rich range, he breathes new life into

classic songs like “Samson and Delilah,” one of several songs featuring harmonies from gospel

quartet the Fairfield Four. He’s a balladeer on “Gallows Pole,” whose melancholy melodies are

echoed by the slow swells of a four-piece woodwind ensemble, and a bluesman on “When My

Baby Left Me,” accompanying himself with sparse bursts of slide guitar. “Dry Bones” finds him

crooning and hollering over a bouncing banjo, while “Take This Hammer” closes the album on a

penitent note, with Watson singing to the heavens alongside a congregation of Sunday morning

soul singers.

“I’m not trying to prove any point here,” Watson insists, “and I’m not trying to be a purist. There’s

so much beauty in this old music, and it affects me on a deep level. It moves me and inspires


Nodding to the past without resurrecting it, Watson turns his latest album release, “Folksinger

Volume 2,” into something much more than an interpretation of older songs. The album carries

on the spirit of a time nearly forgotten. It taps into the rich core of roots music. It furthers the

legacy of American folk. And perhaps most importantly, it shows the full range of Willie Watson’s

artistry, matching his instrumental and vocal chops with a strong appreciation for the songs that

have shaped not only a genre, but an entire country.

For more information about the concert, or to purchase tickets for “An Evening With Willie

Watson,” please visit www.apptheatre.org.