By Rebecca Gitlen
June 14, 2012. The Town of Boone will host a Celebration of Doc Watson with Stephen Gallagher and Friends, Charles Welch and The Kruger Brothers on Friday, June 15, at the Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone, starting at 5 p.m. The concert, which has been planned for months, makes a second annual celebration of Doc. Last year’s concert dedicated the statue, and this year’s concert will provide the town and community an opportunity to collectively celebrate Doc with free music in downtown Boone.
“Essentially this is an opportunity to clebrate Doc with his friends and stories and to share his music,” Freed said.
Doc Watson touched so many people’s lives across the nation, but especially locally. Unlike other celebrities tend to, Doc stayed in his community. While he was here, he was reaching people all the while, Freed said.
One of the many lives affected include Steven Gallager, a third generation guitar builder for Gallagher Guitars who will be at the June 15 celebration. In a way, Doc put Gallager Guitars on the map.
“In 1968, Doc Watson was picking under a tree at a music festival with Merle Watson. J.W. Gallagher and son, Don, walked over and offered for Doc to play the guitar that was in the case they were carrying. Doc did, liked the sound and when he went to hand it back, they struck a deal: “Keep it, for as long as you play it,”” according to the Gallagher website.
Today, the Gallagher family continues to make guitars that ring like a bell.
The Kruger Brothers came to western North Carolina from Switzerland in large part because of Doc Watson. The banjo-guitar-bass trio came to Wilkes County to perform at Merlefest, and within a few years, they bought land and moved there permanently. Since moving to Wilkes, the trio have become fixtures in the traditional and acoustic music community and were frequently found on stage beside Doc.
Charles Welch was also frequently found on stage with Doc, performing with him regularly for Doc’s local performances. Charles is an excellent finger-style blues guitar player, and he will share some music and memories of his time with Doc. Stephen Gallagher, the grandson of J.W. Gallagher who built one of Doc’s most-played guitars, will bring a trio of musicians to start the concert at 5 p.m. Stephen says he probably would not have gotten involved in the family business if it was not for Doc, who helped spread the word about Gallagher Guitars.
Come out to the Jones House to hear great music and other fun Doc stories, as a community of supporters celebrate his life.
The free concert is part of the Concerts at the Jones House series, which takes place every Friday at 5 p.m. at the Jones House, at 604 W. King St. The series is sponsored by Mast General Store, Footsloggers, MPrints, StickBoy Bread, Melanie’s, and the Downtown Boone Development Association. For more information on the series, visit www.boone-nc-org or call 828-262-4576.