All posts tagged: Doc Watson

Saturday Soundtrack: Joe Bonamassa

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I was listening to a live performance by blues guitarist  Joe Bonamassa from Madison, Wisconsin, on the SiriusXM B.B. King’s Bluesville channel. In between songs, Bonamassa recounted a story from the band’s current tour, noting that they had recently found themselves with a rare couple of days off while staying in nearby Chicago. Instead of going to their customary Days Inn, the band decided to treat themselves to two nights at the Four Seasons. Bonamassa said the accommodations were just what you’d expect from a luxury, four-star hotel, with the only downside being the 1200 “yuppies” who were attending a financial convention in the hotel. He ran into a group of these young, well-paid professionals at the elevator, and with his “street person” appearance and guitar case in hand, he became an instant target for a bully who clearly had more money than brains. Here’s how Bonamassa told of the interaction: Yuppie Bully: “Hi. What’s in the case?” Bonamassa: “‘It’s a guitar,’ I replied. ‘I wasn’t going to tell him that …

My Turn on Music Row

I’ve often said I have one of the best jobs on earth.  I work with amazing people to save some of the best places in the country. I get to see some amazing sites. I have the chance to explain why these places matter. Last Monday was one of those days. The National Trust designated Nashville’s Music Row as a National Treasure. Nashville is undergoing an amazing transformation, where growth is putting pressure on some of the most important places in the history of country music. When a threat arose last summer, Musician Ben Folds and several other Nashville insiders worked hard to save historic Studio A from demolition. We joined them in this fight and – in the process – expanded our reach to all of Music Row. Knowing of my Tennessee roots and my love for roots and country music, our team asked if I would help launch our campaign.  It took me about 3 seconds to say yes. As you can see above, we had a great turnout from the media and …

Remembering Doc Watson

I know when I’ve been inspired by a performer or a piece of music…I change the strings on my guitars. Since hearing a wonderful Tim O’Brien remembrance of the late Doc Watson, I’ve got brand new strings on two of my guitars.  It’s that good. Friday evenings I’ll often ramble through YouTube videos, starting with a musician I enjoy and seeing where the recommendations take me.  More times than not, I will find a video or two that opens up a new perspective on a well-known performer.  Such was the case last evening. I’ve always enjoyed Tim O’Brien, seeing him live most recently at this summer’s Red Wing Roots Festival.  But until I heard this video from a 2012 Kennedy Center performance, I didn’t know that Doc was his musical hero — although the news wasn’t much of a shock.  I believe it was Bill Clinton who said — when giving Doc the National Medal of Arts award — that every baby boomer who picked up an acoustic guitar tried, at some point, to emulate …

Doc Watson, R.I.P.

Doc Watson, who passed away today at age 89, was among the most authentic, talented, and influential musicians to emerge from the 60s folk music revival. He was also the reason I play guitar, attempting to flatpick fiddle tunes or pick out a lead note or two on traditional bluegrass and country songs. Of course, I have to get in line behind tens of thousands — if not more — guitarists who would make the same claim. So read the New York Times story I’ve linked at the top of the post if you are looking for Doc’s history, background, and influence.  This is a personal post. I was in high school in the early 70s, learning to play guitar and noodling around with music by singer songwriters and their ilk.  Then one day I brought home this funny looking album — Will the Circle Be Unbroken — and my life was changed forever. Here’s how I described that moment in a More to Come… post in 2009: “In fact, I suspect that the first …