This version of the fiddle tune Black Mt. Rag is inspired by the playing of Doc Watson, a pioneer in American guitar playing. Doc was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina in 1923. He suffered an eye infection before his 1st birthday that left him blind. Doc came from a musical family that recorded an album of traditional old time music for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released in 1963. These recordings were a great success propelling the careers of the family and Doc as a solo performer.

Doc went on to release several albums and toured extensively with his son Merle Watson until Merle’s passing in 1985 at age 36.

Doc and friend David Holt won a GRAMMY Award in 2002 for the three CD set of music and interviews called “Legacy” on High Windy Audio and can be found at

Doc passed away in 2012 at the age of 89.

I was lucky to see Doc and Merle play live many times starting in the 1970s. He was an inspiration to all who knew him. Cathy Fink and I played at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina several times over the years. Doc started MerleFest in honor and memory of his son Merle who was also a fantastic guitar player. Merle learned from the Master, his dad, keeping the family tradition of passing the music from one generation to the next.

There was a time not all that long ago when we needed to go to the source in order to learn the music. It was an honor to be able to sit down with the Masters and learn directly from them. Oh, the stories they told! It was a wonderful experience. The only downside was that not so many people had the chance to learn from our heroes first hand.

TrueFire puts the world of music at our fingertips. Many of the old Masters have passed on but they would be proud to know that their music continues.



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