North Carolina mountain bluegrass and gospel legend Doc Watson died in a Winston-Salem hospital Tuesday (May 29) after suffering complications from a fall in his mountain home. He was 89.
Born in the mountain community of Deep Gap, he was blind from age one because of contaminated eye drops, but his disability did not stop his musical talents and songwriting.
While picking with Earl Scruggs and their children at his home, Watson once said: "It usually sounds better if you don't rehearse it."
After his son, Merle Watson, died in a tractor accident 25 years ago, Doc Watson began the bluegrass festival Merlefest in his honor. Today, the festival draws tens of thousands of music lovers and the best musicians in country, gospel and bluegrass music from around the world.
One of the best ways to appreciate Watson's life, impact on the bluegrass world and folklore-telling traditions is to watch videos of his music.
Click on the links below to experience Doc Watson's stories and music.
Doc Watson's "Amazing Grace"
Smithsonian documentary of Doc Watson performing and teaching "Deep River Blues"
Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs play at Doc's home.
Doc Watson performing "Summertime"
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