The Town of Boone celebrates the fifth annual Doc Watson Day Celebration, Friday, June 19, at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone.
Five years ago, Doc Watson performed on the Jones House porch before the unveiling of the downtown Boone statue of a life-size Watson playing his guitar on a bench. On that day, former Mayor Loretta Clawson dedicated the third Friday in Boone as “Doc Watson Day,” and the celebration has been held each year since.
“Doc passed away about a month before the second celebration,” concert organizer, Mark Freed remembers. “He was planning to perform that day with his friends, The Kruger Brothers.” The Kruger Brothers still performed, in an emotional celebration of the late, great, Doc Watson, and they returned to the Jones House the following two years to continue the tradition.
“The Kruger Brothers have been called to other parts of the country to perform this year,” Freed says. “But, we will continue the celebration with more top-notch music inspired by what Doc called ‘traditional-plus.'”
The celebration will begin at 4:00 p.m. Friday with Charles Welch and John Kirby. Welch, a longtime friend and performing partner with Doc Watson, grew up in the area and was school friends with Doc’s son, Merle Watson. “Charles always has great stories to share about traveling with Doc and Merle as a young man or performing with Doc during the last couple decades of his career.”
The all-girl string band, Buck Stops Here, will follow Welch and Kirby, bringing their blend of old-time and Americana roots music. Formed a couple years ago by a handful of multi-instrumentalist women musicians, Buck Stops Here has been grabbing the attention of roots music fans across the southeast, where they all make their home. The group performed as part of the regular Concerts schedule last year, but this will be their first time playing as part of the Doc Watson Day celebration.
It will also be the first time performing at the Doc Watson Day Celebration and the Jones House for Jack Lawrence, another one of Doc Watson’s longtime friends and performing partners. Lawrence started playing shows with Doc Watson after Merle Watson died in a tractor accident, and he became a staple musician at concerts and on recording projects. “We are really excited to have Jack Lawrence join us this year,” Freed says. “Aside from T.Michael Coleman, he was one of the last close living musical partners of Doc’s to play the celebration, and he is an incredible guitar player.” Joining Lawrence will be Patrick Crouch, a talented multi-instrumentalist, who performed at last year’s celebration with his band Strictly Clean and Decent.
The Honey Chasers will round out the evening of music, featuring the songs of Watauga High graduate, Cameron Owens, and the fiddling prowess of Bethel’s Meade Richter, and other talented musicians Owens and Richter have met through the Eastern Tennessee State University Bluegrass Performance program. Owens and Richter graduate this year, and The Honey Chasers is their most recent collaborative effort. Rooted in mountain and bluegrass music, The Honey Chasers feature original songs by Owens and a swinging acoustic sound reminiscent of “Newgrass” or “Dawg” styled string band sounds. “These guys will bring an exciting close to an evening celebrating Doc Watson and the many, many musicians and styles he inspired.”
Concerts at the Jones House take place every Friday, from the front porch of the Jones House in downtown Boone (604 W. King St.). All of the Summer Concerts at the Jones House performances are free and open to the public. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chair or blanket to sit in the Jones House front lawn, under the shade of the gigantic maple trees. Concerts take place rain or shine, with the inside Jones House main gallery being used for inclement weather.
The 2015 Summer Concerts at the Jones House series is sponsored by the Downtown Boone Development Association, Mast General Store, Footsloggers, MPrints, Stickboy Bread Co., and Melanies.
For more information about the concert series, including a complete schedule, please visit www. joneshouse.org or call 828-268-6280.
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