By Katelyn Jenkins
On Friday, June 16, The Jones House will host the 7th Annual Doc Watson Day. The celebration will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be live performances on the lawn by Charles Welch, Jack Lawrence/Patrick Crouch, Presley Barker, the Jeff Little Trio and Brooks Forsyth.
Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson was born March 23, 1923 and raised in Stoney Fork, a local community in Deep Gap. He lost his sight when he was one from an eye infection but that didn’t deter him from his passion for music.
He began playing at the age of six when his father bought him a harmonica. Years later, his father built him a banjo at age 11. When he was 13 he received his first guitar and performed all throughout Boone during the 40s and 50s.
Doc Watson’s first public performances took place where the downtown statue of himself sits today. As his talent progressed he started playing radio shows and land sales. In 1953 he joined a country and western swing band, Jack Williams and the Country Gentlemen, playing lead on electric guitar.
He practiced flatpicking the fiddle for nearly 10 years and began playing shows for large crowds with other bands and eventually enjoyed playing solo.
“The town declared the third Friday of June Doc Watson Day seven years ago when we dedicated the downtown statue of Doc as a tribute to his life,” said Mark Freed, the cultural resources coordinator of the Boone Cultural Resources Department.
For the next 40 years Doc recorded an album almost every year. He recorded 60 albums, won seven Grammys and the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Bill Clinton presented Doc with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists by the US government. In 2000, he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in Kentucky.
Doc was a well known family man who possessed humility and cared for his community. The only reason he travelled the world to play music was to provide for his family. Even today he still has a huge impact on the High Country and musicians all over the world.
“For Doc Watson Day, we put on a free concert for the community by inviting friends and former picking pals of Doc to play and talk about their experiences with the musical legend.” said Freed.
The Jones House is located at 604 West King Street in downtown Boone.
Parking will be free after 3 p.m.
For more information visit www.joneshouse.org or call 828-268-6280.
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