High Country Association of REALTORS News

Celebrating High Country legend Doc Watson

Statues are big now. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow recently got one. Bill Russell is getting one. And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wants one. Friday, local legend Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson will be added to the list of chiseled greats.

The Deep Gap native will be honored with the unveiling of his own statue in downtown Boone. Streets will be closed so the multi-Grammy winner can be celebrated and, most likely, play a few tunes.

Doc will be at the ceremony and will most likely play music with his musician friends, but Cooper said the evening isn’t billed as a Doc Watson concert. Cooper expects a big crowd and is excited about the street closures. ...

Performers include Clint Howard, David Holt, Charles Welch, Herb Key, Wayne Henderson and T. Michael Coleman, all of whom have played with Watson through various stages of his career.

And several of those friends have stories to share about a most remarkable man who went blind before the age of 1.

Doc WatsonIn the early ‘70s, David Holt met Doc backstage at a festival in Georgia. At that first meeting, Holt, who wasn’t a professional musician at the time, asked Doc how a blind man dreamed. Doc said, “In feelings.” Twenty years later, after Doc and Holt started playing together seriously, Holt asked whether Doc meant feelings as in fingertips or the heart. Doc said, “Oh you asked me that—both.”

In 1973 and eight years after Merle, his son, had joined Doc on stage, Coleman, an ASU student, began touring with them. Doc and Merle’s crowds were getting bigger, and they needed to amplify their sound, so they invited Coleman, a bassist, into the band. Coleman said that he had high aspirations as a young kid to become a famous musician, make a record, and tour the world.

“Playing with Doc exceeded all of those expectations,” Coleman said. “I was playing with the best guitarist in the world.”

Doc will be playing at next month's MusicFest in Sugar Grove. He's also a regular at the annual MerleFest, which was established in honor of his late son.