It was with great sadness that I heard the news that Doc Watson had died a couple of days ago. He has been a tremendous influence on me and an inspiration both in his music and in his life. He has been a part of my life for over 40 years I realise when thinking back. I read about him in about 1969 or 70 I suppose but living in a small town in the Central West of New South Wales there was no sense that I would be able to actually hear his music. This may sound surprising but that's the way it was pre internet and pre easy access to records - I had no idea how to access such a product in my small town. On leaving home and moving to the big city of Sydney in 1972 I had the great good fortune to come across a (even there) rare copy of the Ballads from Deep Gap album and that was that ! What I had surmised from my reading was true ! This was incredible music ! I fell in love with Doc's sensitivity, style, humanity and intelligent playing. Life was to pose difficulties for me in the future, a tale from "life's other side", but a constant certainty existed in the form of Doc and his music. He at times provided a steady grounding through his music that I could not access in any other way in my life. When I was finally back in good shape I wrote to him to tell him and thank him for his music, for the healing role it played in my life - a point of gravity in a sometimes weightless and confused existence. Such is the power of music! Now all these years later I still find Doc's music reassuring in it's truthful compassion, in it's musicality, in it's power to give dignity to the human spirit. And what a great guitar picker! So I've done a quick tribute video of a song that Doc covered, a Delmore Brother's tune, Lay Down My Old Guitar. I couldn't help but wonder whether in this his final illness he may have thought of this song's lyrics about taking a guitar with you in death - " I wish I could tie it to my side and take it along with me". Well, if there is a heaven I'm sure Doc is there, guitar in hand.
My singing and guitar picking is a long way from Doc's standard but I hope he would approve. It's just a way of saying "thank you" to Doc Watson, it's just a little prayer for Doc.
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