Doc Watson - The Rest of the Story


Arthel "Doc" Watson was born in Stoney Fork, Watauga County, North Carolina on March 3rd, 1923.  He was raised in Deep Gap, North Carolina, and he still lives there.  He learned to play the harmonica at the age of six and the banjo when he was eleven, and shortly after that he mastered the guitar.  Over the course of his music career, he has been a powerful influence on every form of American music, including rock, folk, country, bluegrass, blues, and old-time.

Doc is a music legend and an American hero, both as an instrumentalist and a vocalist.  He has won five Grammy awards; he was recognized by President Carter as a "national treasure;" he was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton; and, he was given an honorary doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina.  Doc is a witty, intelligent, charming, easy-going story-teller.  He has suffered his share of misfortune, including the accidental death of his son Merle, who was also his best friend.  Still, he is comfortable, relaxed, and laid-back.  

In a biography by Dan Miller, Doc says that the most valuable thing his father ever did for him was not putting him at the end of a cross-cut saw when he was fourteen years old.  Doc said, "He put me to work and that made me feel useful."  This taught him not to be afraid to do anything.  Over the years, Doc re-wired his house and built a two room utility building completely by himself with a handsaw and miter box.  (The utility building was later found to be almost perfectly square).  

Oh, there's one more thing that Doc had to say about his father making him work on that crosscut saw:  "He made me know that just because I was blind, certainly didn’t mean I was helpless."  Yes, he is blind.  When he was born, he had a defect in the vessels that carried blood to his eyes.  He developed an eye infection which caused him to completely loose his vision before his first birthday.  Doesn't this make you want to re-read his accomplishments above?  Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."  

Owen Weber 2012