The Associated Press announces that folk musician Doc Watson died at 89 years old. The demise occured on Tuesday in North Carolina a week after the artist suffered an abdominal intervention at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Doc Watson’s fans were saddened to hear that the Grammy-winning singer will no longer delight them with the sound of his guitar and the lyrics of his famous songs, such as, “Windy And Warm” and “Deep River Blues”. The guitar legend passed away on Tuesday, but his health condition gradually worsened since last fall. Watson underwent an abdominal surgery last week, but doctors were unable to put him back on his feet again.
During one of the many interviews he released throughout his life, Watson declared that his first contact with the music occurred while he was living in the Blue Ridge. At the age of 11, the late singer started playing the banjo and later on, moved on to the guitar. His parents didn’t have the possibility to purchase a banjo, so Watson’s first instrument was made out of the skin of a dead cat. His father, the maker of the banjo, encouraged him to keep practicing as he believed music might help his son “get through the world”.
Watson was 13 when he became familiar with guitars. He learned the chords by practicing “When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland” on a borrowed guitar. His father was very proud of him; therefore, he helped Watson buy his first guitar the next day. Although his childhood disease left him blind, the folk legend managed to improve his talent and to become the best flat-picker in America.
He gave his first solo performance in 1962 at Gerde’s Folk City in New York’s Greenwich Village. The public endeared him as soon as he started pinching his chords and so Watson’s musical career progressed. He was invited to host numerous concerts and take part in many music festivals including Newport Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall. In 2002, he received his eighth Grammy which was shared with banjo player David Holt for the album “Legacy”.