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Author: Subject: Doc Watson is incredible!!!

A Peach Supreme





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  posted on 4/11/2006 at 10:15 PM
I just started getting into Doc Watson and his music and I was wondering if anybody knew if there is a trading community for his shows. I have a good one from Colorado 2002 with Sam Bush and two others but it is the only one that I've got. Any suggestions?
 
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  posted on 4/12/2006 at 02:01 AM
I dont know if there is a trading community, but you might find someone here with some stuff on the taper forum.

Doc is one of my guitar heros. He is simply incredible. If you havent already, and you get the chance to catch him in concert somewhere, by all means DO IT!!!

You wont regret it. Not only that, but he is a legend and a national treasure who isnt getting any younger. Hes getting pretty old and he simply isnt going to be around forever.

"D"

 

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  posted on 4/12/2006 at 08:34 AM
Doc is awesome!! I first saw him with his son, Merle (may he RIP) at the old Southeast Music Hall in Atlanta in 1976. I have seen him many times since at bluegrass festivals. I saw him play with Alison Krauss back in the 90s at a festival.

Good luck finding the tapes!

 

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  posted on 4/12/2006 at 11:10 AM
Very cool to see Doc Watson mentioned here. He is simply an American music treasure, a mountain music library, and still, at 82 years old, an incredible flatpick guitarist who can pick circles around a whole lot of younger pickers.

Of course, the Mecca for seeing Doc Watson play is the upcoming Merlefest Festival that Doc hosts in Wilkesboro, North Carolina at the end of this month. Doc plays in different configurations throughout the four days of the festival. Doc probably plays about 15 different times.

Here is a preview of the 2006 Merlefest that I wrote to get a feel of what it is about,

http://www.gritz.net/subscribers_area/features/merlefest06_ preview.html

As for looking for Doc Watson jams, the Merlefest festival will be broadcast, according to the official Merlefest website, on here - Listen to MerleFest 2006 LIVE on the MerleFest Channel -http://www.mvyradio.com/. Tape away. I would key on Doc's yearly performance with the great Nashville Bluegrass band on Sunday Morning at 10am, Doc will also host an allstar jam on Sunday 12:15pm. Because there are nine stages, you never know whose portion of the live show the radio will broadcast, but look for the Jerry Douglas Band at 1pm on FRiday - and Sam Bush later on that night, Hot Tuna with Jorma and Jack, the Waybacks with Bob Wier, etc.
. Stage schedules here,

http://www.merlefest.org/StageSchedule.asp

www.merlefest.org. Ten stages, four days, and about 150 musicians. Now, there is a Duane Allman connection to Merlefest. Merlefest is named after Doc Watson's son, Merle Watson, who wasa proficient country blues slide guitar player who collaborated with his father before losing his life in a tractor accident in 1986. Merle Watson was directly influenced by Duane Allman on slide. From the Merle Watson page at the Merlefest website,

quote:
http://www.merlefest.org/MerlesQuotes.htm


On what sparked his interest in slide guitar.......

"I started playing slide guitar in 1973 or '74. I heard Duane Allman play "Statesboro Blues" one day. I said, "I gotta figure this one out!" Of course, it was the blues, southern rock, electric stuff. I kind of took from his ideas and put it into country. The black blues influence on him, of course, is where some of it came from, the Delta blues guys. Allman's single-note lead work and clean style of playing are what got me interested in slide work. I hadn't been interested before because it was pretty scratchy and noisy and not real clean music. Allman developed it into this real pretty, clean, single-note lead thing as well as backup stuff."




Saturday at Merlefest will prove to be interesting as to choosing what stage to be at as, for instance, from 4pm to 6pm there will be performing on different stages - Doc Watson with David Holt, the brilliant Alison Brown and her Quartet, Guy Clark, Jay Ungar who wrote "Ashokan Farewell," Mike Seeger and Pete Seeger, The diverse world music jam of the Duhks from Canada, Roy Block, Roy BookBinder, the Nashville Bluegrass band with the great Stuart Duncan, The Grascals, Peter Rowan of Bill Monroe and Old and In the Way with Jerry Garcia fame teaming up with the best American guitarist out there in Tony Rice, and a Blue Country Heart album reunion with Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna jamming with Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and Byron House.

Jorma will also be doing many shows with Jack Casady as Hot Tuna including - 11am and 2:30pm on Friday, 11am and 6:15 on Saturday, and 10"15am on Sunday, as well as the Blue Country Heart jam mentioned above.

The Waybacks with Bob Weir of the Dead on Friday, and the great Tony Rice plays with his own band on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Jerry Douglas plays all over the place, but specifically with his own band on Friday evening.

Sunday is rounded out by many cool acts with Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Doc Watson closing it out. Sam Bush headlines with his awesome band on Saturday night and Emmylou always shows up to jam with him then.

Of course, I am leaving out about 100 other artists. And the campgrounds will be buzzing with serious pickin' all night long.

As always, the best players in the business give free instrument workshops all day long. When the hell do rock musicians do that??

And the Dance tent is just for that, dancing all day long and it is a blast.

As for Doc Watson CD's, there is a ton to choose from. His version of "Tennessee Stud' and "Ole Groundhog" have always been favorites of mine from years ago.
I would also suggest the three-CD project that Doc put out with collaborater David Holt called "Legacy." On the first two CD's David and Doc sit around and talk about Doc's musical journey and have a bunch of instruments sitting around and they play all the songs they talk about. The third CD is a full blown concert by Doc and David. Doc plays "Tennessee Stud" on here, and wonderful versions of songs like "Deep River Blues," "Never No More Blues," "Freight Train," "Whiskey Before Breakfast," "I Got the Blues and I Can't Be Satisfied," "Just to Ease My Worried Mind," and my favorite, an amazing "Ready For The World To Get Better."

More on the Legacy CD is here in this interview I did with David Holt,

http://www.gritz.net/subscribers_area/inner_views/david_holt.html

Doc is a great flatpick lead guitarist because, as with a lot of other lead guitarists,he tried to learn to play the guitar as if he was playing another instrument. Doc, even though he lived in the mountains of North Carolina, came across blues records along the way, and that influenced him a lot. Later on he had a gig playing a local dance and the fiddler quit the band, so Doc decided to learn the fiddle parts on guitar, and the rest is history.

Also,, while growing up blind, he said that when the other kids would try and sneak up on him it would never work. His other senses were so keen that he was never fooled once.

Of course, I couldn't end a conversation about Doc Watson without putting up his story about the cat-skinned banjo that his dad made him back in the 1930's, a story he tells on the Legacy album,

quote:
" In 1934 Dad made me a little home-made banjo. It had a cat skin head on it. First he put a groundhog skin head on it, but it was too thick, it didn't work good. He was splittin' stove wood and I was gettin' me a big arm full to take in the house and put in the wood box for Mama. And, my brother came up through the yard with a sack and a bucket of water in the other hand and Daddy said, 'What you got in that sack?' He said, 'I got granny's poor old cat that's got too old to live any longer and she wants me to put it out of it's misery. And, I told her I couldn't do it, but she said, 'Son, I'll give you fifty cents if you do it, I ain't got the heart.' It couldn't see, it couldn't eat, so Dad thought about it for a minute and said, 'I seen a J. Rodgers advertisement in Sears-Roebuck for a banjo head, if you boys will skin that thing I'll make you a banjo head out of it.' Well, we both dreaded it, but Lenny said, 'Well, I bet that would sound good. I bet it would be as clear as you could read a paper through it when Daddy got done with it.' Between Daddy and Lenny they got that thing right, with all the hair off of it, and it was just about clear. Oh, man, it had a beautiful sound."


Doc is 82 years old. Here is one of those amazing musicians that you can still see while he is alive. If you love real and true music -go. If you play the guitar at all - flippin' GO!! Don't pass up the opportunity!!

As a side note, a brand new album by a young cat that is as good a guitar as there is out there would also be a good bet. Bryan Sutton has played with everyone from Bela Fleck to Jerry Douglas and a ton more. He has a new album out called "Not Too Far From The Tree" where he took a portable recorder and captured acoustic guitar flatpicking duets with the best in the business, including Doc Watson, two songs with the great Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, David Grier, George Shuffler, Norman Blake, and more. Amazing flatpicking on guitar here;

http://www.sugarhillrecords.com/catalog/pagemaker.cgi?4001

Derek H

 

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  posted on 4/12/2006 at 12:55 PM
I did not see this already mentioned, but Doc Watson will be playing in Brevard, NC on September 16th at the Mountain Song Festival. Proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Translyvania County.

Here is the link:
http://www.mountainsongfestival.com/

 

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  posted on 4/12/2006 at 01:10 PM
Doc has said in interviews that his father would not let him have a pity party and lay around doing nothing because he lost his sight at a very young age. He made Doc do things, which is the best thing he could have done.

I've heard Doc say in interviews that one of the things he used to do back when TV's were more simple was fix the TV when it broke! He...a blind man..would take the back off and engage in TV repair!

"D"

 

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  posted on 4/12/2006 at 01:59 PM
quote:
I did not see this already mentioned, but Doc Watson will be playing in Brevard, NC on September 16th at the Mountain Song Festival. Proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Translyvania County.

Here is the link:
http://www.mountainsongfestival.com/




Cool!!

quote:
Doc has said in interviews that his father would not let him have a pity party and lay around doing nothing because he lost his sight at a very young age. He made Doc do things, which is the best thing he could have done.

I've heard Doc say in interviews that one of the things he used to do back when TV's were more simple was fix the TV when it broke! He...a blind man..would take the back off and engage in TV repair!

"D"



At Merlefest a couple of years ago Doc told a story about growing up with his sister. Doc, even though blind, did not stop from doing much that the other kids would do back in the day and that included climbing trees. He talked about his younger sister who was also blind but didn't do a lot of the crazy things that Doc did around their mountain home. One day, many years ago when they were young, his sister wanted to get up in the cherry tree with Doc and get some cherries of her own on her own account. Doc fixed up a rope and managed to get her up there where she could feel around and pick her own cherries. This is two blind kids, mind you. Doc said that many years later after they both had grown up his sister told him that she thought often of that day, and would never forget it. It was as simple as she always wanted to know what it was like to be way up in a tree, where the wind blew and the birds fluttered around you, where you could feel the tree swaying and moving underneath you, where you could reach out and get your own fresh cherries. There was plenty for the senses to take in and she never forgot it.

I have been fortunate enough to spend a little time with Doc. This story happened backstage at Merlefest a year ago. There was an older woman sitting in a wheelchair on the side of the stage watching and listening to the wonderful concert that Doc was putting on with David Holt. After the show they brought the wheelchair-bound woman backstage to meet and talk with Doc Watson. As they brought her in, Doc's assistants told him that she was there, and he held out his hand to her and told her how glad he was that she could see the show. The older lady must have had a stroke because she would try and communicate to him yet nothing would come out. She couldn't talk. Doc did not know this for obvious reasons, he is blind. His people then told him that she could not talk, that she was trying her best to talk with him, but that she could hear and understand everything that he said. Doc immediately understood the situation and grabbed her hand tighter and made sure that she knew that he understood, and that she was as special as anyone else he had ever met. He said everything that was needed to acknowledge her, and it was plenty enough. Although Doc couldn't see it, the lady managed a big smile on her face in response. Doc handled it brilliantly.

Geesh, I could barely write that without it getting to me all over again. Great moment, though.


On saturday afternoon at Merlefest in 2003 Doc jammed on the main Watson stage with Jack Lawrence and others. Not on the shedule was Jerry Douglas. Jerry came out with his Dobro and played with Doc before he had to get on the bus and move on for the weekend. Jerry did not play one song and wave and walk off, but stayed and played with Doc for at least 6 songs. It was beautiful. It was some of Jerry's best playing of the weekend. Jerry is the kind of cat that respects the old timers, often helping out folks like Uncle Josh Graves with benefits and so forth, and this was yet another example of that. I stood there watching and taking it all in when it dawned on me that I will never forget or take for granted seeing a great solo by Jerry Douglas followed by a great solo by Doc Watson. After about the sixth song I had to walk up the hill and see the reconstituted Hot Rize with Bryan Sutton taking the guitar roll of the late Charles Sawtelle. But as I did the remaining sounds of Jerry and Doc's playing followed me up the hill and it sounded sweet and made the walk special.

DH

[Edited on 4/12/2006 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 4/13/2006 at 03:53 AM
Derek,

quote:
" have been fortunate enough to spend a little time with Doc. This story happened backstage at Merlefest a year ago. There was an older woman sitting in a wheelchair on the side of the stage watching and listening to the wonderful concert that Doc was putting on with David Holt. After the show they brought the wheelchair-bound woman backstage to meet and talk with Doc Watson. As they brought her in, Doc's assistants told him that she was there, and he held out his hand to her and told her how glad he was that she could see the show. The older lady must have had a stroke because she would try and communicate to him yet nothing would come out. She couldn't talk. Doc did not know this for obvious reasons, he is blind. His people then told him that she could not talk, that she was trying her best to talk with him, but that she could hear and understand everything that he said. Doc immediately understood the situation and grabbed her hand tighter and made sure that she knew that he understood, and that she was as special as anyone else he had ever met. He said everything that was needed to acknowledge her, and it was plenty enough. Although Doc couldn't see it, the lady managed a big smile on her face in response. Doc handled it brilliantly.

Geesh, I could barely write that without it getting to me all over again. Great moment, though."


Well, it "got all over me" just reading it.

Doc is an inspiration in many more ways that playing the guitar.

I've only cried when hearing of 2 musical artists passing.

John Hartford and Tammy Wynette

I believe it'll get to me pretty bad when Doc passes on.

"D"

 

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  posted on 4/13/2006 at 01:39 PM
quote:
Well, it "got all over me" just reading it.

Doc is an inspiration in many more ways that playing the guitar.

I've only cried when hearing of 2 musical artists passing.

John Hartford and Tammy Wynette

I believe it'll get to me pretty bad when Doc passes on.



Well then, you'll appreciate this. John Hartford was a huge influence on me, and I was lucky enough to get to spend time with him one on one. I am in the process of writing an article on the fifth anniversary of his passing. What I am doing is asking many of the fellow musicians that knew him two questions,

One, I have not gone to a music festival in the last two years where a Hartford song hasn't been played either onstage or in a jam in the campgrounds. What is the legacy of his music five years later? Two, what is the most unusual or funniest thing that you ever saw Hartford do or say??

Bob Carlin answered with this a day or so ago,

quote:
There were so many odd/strange/unusual things that John did that it is hard to pick out one. I'll give you two. One of the strangest things john did was go on stage one day with tissues stuck up his nostrils (he was having nose bleeds -probably due to his lymphoma medicine, which he battled for almost 20 years). We got to calling him (or he called himself, not sure which happened first) "Captain Kleenex. One of the funniest was onstage in Maine. He was singing "Hey Babe, You Want To Boogie" at a festival with the Lewis family looking on. He then commented from the stage that he wanted the Lewis sisters to sing that song at his funeral. I waved them onstage and with a bit of hesitation they finally came on and began to sing "Boogie" with John lying on the floor of the stage with his hands crossed over his chest as if in his coffin. Needless to say i lost it and couldnt go on because i was laughing so hard. At the time we were unaware that a few short years later John would be gone and we would be singing over him.



Since his death I have gotten to know not only a ton of his music friends, from Jerry Douglas, to Bob Carlin and Mike Compton from his last band, but I have also gotten to know the riverboat captain side of his life, meeting other riverboat captians on the rivers of America that he know. That has been fascinating. It has gotten me into the pilots house of a few big boats.

Here is the piece I wrote right after John's death. I am a much better writer now, and will re-write it at some point. But you will get the heart of the matter anyway,

quote:
http://www.gritz.net/subscribers_area/features/hartford.html

Where Does an Old Time River Man Go?
John Hartford Remembered
By Derek Halsey

December 2001

In the cool autumn air the sounds of the riverboats were everywhere. There is nothing like the whistle of a ship like the Delta Queen blowing as it comes up river and into port. In October of 1988, at the port of Cincinnati on the mighty Ohio River, there were the sounds of over twenty riverboats in port at once. Steamboats were in town from all over the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and all points in between. It was a festival called Tall Stacks. There also were many bluegrass, jazz, and country musicians in town for the festival as well. One artist in particular would not have missed it for the world as he was a licensed riverboat pilot as well as a musician and that was John Hartford.

John Hartford, songwriter, banjo and fiddle player, has probably recorded more music about the river and riverboats and river life than any other 'modern times' musician. On the banks of the Ohio River that fall he was definitely in his element. He was up on the stage with his instruments and his 4 by 4 piece of plywood. The miced plywood, with a little sand thrown on it, was what he did his shuffling on. He would play the fiddle or the banjo while at the same time keeping rhythm with his feet on the board. As he played on the open-air stage the steamboats would be off in the background behind him. When he would stop playing for a second and turn and wave to the boats the captains and pilots, most of whom he knew, would see him from the river and blow their whistles and it was great. He was a one-man show, in the tradition of all the old traveling minstrels and musicians that played the river ports of this country for hundreds of years.

I had not seen John for a long time. I was trying to remember what bluegrass festival I first saw him play live at. All I know is I remember seeing him first as most of us middle age ex-hippies did on the late sixties TV show "Glen Campbell's Good Time Hour." He was the hippie with the 'banjer'. The one who wrote Glen Campbell's hit song of the day, "Gentle on My Mind" in about twenty minutes of absolute brainstorm. It is still to this day some of the best lyrics ever written. The crowd that night recognized that song above all of the other songs and clapped as he started it. It was a crisp October night. There was a river full of steamboats. John Hartford had the crowd in his favor.

After he finished his set he would always greet what people he could backstage. I stood back and let him talk to the other fans before I went into my recollections and musical questions and such. As I was standing off to the side I overheard some of the older ladies talking. They were amazed at how he could dance and shuffle his feet to the rhythm on the plywood for such a long time. They approached him for an autograph but seemed too shy to ask him about it. So I brought it up in front of the others standing there and walked right in to the dry wry humor that was John Hartford. " So John, how is it that you keep your legs up like that?" "Well", he answered without missing a beat, "They are attached to my hips I guess".

John's classic song "Gentle on My Mind" should, as picker Ricky Skaggs said about it, "encourage young songwriters out there to write that one mega-classic hit." As Ricky further explains, a song like that could "set you up for your children and your children's children". And so it was for John. 'Gentle on My Mind' is the second most played song in the history of man, second only to the Beatles "Yesterday." It has been played over 6 million times on radio and television. Over 300 people have recorded it. Such entertainers as, and I am not joking here, Frank Sinatra, Aretha, Burl Ives, Lawrence Welk, Lou Rawls, and Elvis! After John's appearances on the Campbell show and the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour he was even offered a detective show on television but turned it down to head back east and south. Hollywood was fun for a while but there were not enough rivers in California to suit him.

The royalties from 'Gentle' enabled him to pursue the music he really wanted to play. And thatās when the album entitled "Aereo-Plain" came out in 1971. This is the album to start out with if you are new to his music. The album, now CD, featured John playing with Tut Taylor on dobro, Norman Blake on guitar and mandolin, Randy Scruggs on bass, and the great fiddle player Vassar Clements. John did not play just traditional music. With this album especially he set into motion the idea that bluegrass string music could be strange and progressive as well. One listen to "BOOGIE" and "Steam Powered Aereo Plane" played loud and you will see what I mean. Yet the instrumentation was smoking.

Other songs to look for on other albums of his would be, of course, "Granny Wontcha Smoke Some Marijuana" from the "Nobody Knows What You Do " album, 1976. Also on that album is a song called "The Golden Globes" which is the best song I have ever heard in tribute to the fairer sexes wonderful female protuberances. Crazy. Or you might try finding the 1977 album he made with the Dillards of Andy Griffith show fame (on the show they were called the "Darlin's"). Look for a tribute to Bob Marley entitled "Two Hits and The Joint turned Brown". You never knew what you were going to get with Mr., Hartford. And you southern rockers should look for a self titled album by Vassar Clements on the Mercury label, 1975, which featured John and others such as Charlie Daniels, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, members of Barefoot Jerry, and Marty Stewart.

The next time I saw John was in 1991 or '92 at the next Tall Stacks celebration. I ran into him sitting out a steady rain in a vehicle with Cincinnati-Kentucky musician Katie Laur. He recognized me after a few seconds and invited me in the car to talk and wait out the rain as he was supposed to play if it let up. I gave him a tape I had made for him of unusual music I had found such as 'Lillie Mae and the Dixie Gospel-Aires' and other cool stuff. The next day after the rain brought in a cold front behind it I saw Katie and John at the outdoor stage where banjo legend J.D.Crowe was playing. It could not have been more than 45 degrees outside and you players out there know how rough it would be to get your fingers to move right in such conditions. So J.D. tells the audience that if they have any requests to yell them out and if they could they would play it. John, way in the back, disguises his voice and yells out "Train 45", which is one of the hardest, fastest picking songs you could play. The band gets this collective frown on there faces, look at each other, look at their hands and instruments, and after a few seconds J.D. looks out into the crowd saying, "Hartford is that you?" J.D. finally figured out what was up. John was laughing hard, but J.D. and his band played it any way.

The last time I saw John was in 1999. It was the last of the three Tall Stacks and it was known through the grapevine that John's health was not good. John had been fighting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma for 20 years and it was finally wearing him down. I had found a country cookbook written by Ronni Lundy of Louisville titled "Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken" which featured a picture of John taken of him in 1958. I wanted to show it to him and have him sign it. He got a big kick out of it. The second I saw him though I knew he was in trouble. I walked away from him that day praying and stunned at what I had seen. It's amazing how things can change someone for the worse from one time to the next. He kept on playing until April of 2001 when in Texas, in the middle of a run of shows, he lost control of his hands. In the days leading up to his death in early June of 2001 he had a parade of visitors to his Madison, Tennessee home overlooking the Cumberland River. Though he could not play himself he had others such as Earl Scruggs and Bela Fleck play for him. His wife Marie put his bed where he could see the river. As John said at an earlier time, "You look out at the river and it looks like its full of crushed diamonds·.I can't be anywhere else".

After his death on June 4, 2001, an amazing thing happened. On his web site, 'Johnhartford.com' (which he originally wanted to name 'Delusions of Banjer'), a message board was started for people to share their stories about John. As of November 2001 there have been over 1,500 postings. There are postings from Germany, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand, Netherlands, Bolivia, Canada, and all of America. The stories are touching, unusual, and goofy.

One recurring story is of John at the Skyline Music Festival in Ronceverte, West Virginia. Back in 1977 some idiot burned down the barn that held all the generators that supplied all of the electric for the stages. According to attendees Jan Worthington and Austin Troxell, whose picture you see with this article, after it got dark John invited people to the stage anyway. People gathered around and surrounded the stage with their camping lanterns and witnessed as good and as unique a show by John as you could ever want to see. Plywood and all.



Even near the end of his life John never lost his sense of humor. The radio show called "Live at Mountain Stage" wanted to do a tribute for him while he was still alive. Many great musicians came and played many of his songs and it was released as a CD as well. At the end of the concert John came out to play a short set. He started by talking to the audience and the other musicians telling them that, "If I'm going to be true to form, I got to tell you like it is·I know why everybody's here. They think I'm going to croak." He went on to say that if he was going to do his part then he should croak within about three weeks so it would still be fresh in every ones mind. The problem with that was, as he put it, " We got the whole month of October booked".

I am sure the irony of what happened to his career at the end of his life was not lost on him either. In 2000 there was a hit movie that came out entitled "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", starring Kentucky native George Clooney and written and directed by the Coen Brothers. The music in the movie was an integral part of the story that was set in Mississippi circa 1930's. The Coen's hired T. Bone Burnett to gather up some real 'old time music' musicians to create the critical soundtrack to the movie. He brought in Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss and Ralph Stanley, and others. And John Hartford. The soundtrack of "Oh Brother" sold more than two million copies. It sold more than any other country CD sold in 2000. It topped the charts smoking all of the other so-called modern country artists. Ouch!

There is a movie out there now called "Down From The Mountain" that is a documentary of the musicians from "Oh Brother" coming together for a concert in celebration of the music of the movie, of the south, of the mountains, of the delta, of America. It is hosted by John Hartford and should be in video stores shortly. It is now part of his legacy as well. A hit song in the beginning of his career and a hit CD at the end of his 63 years here on earth. But there is also a bunch of wonderful music in between for us to explore and enjoy and have fun with and to learn from.

There is a song by John from the "Live at Mountain Stage" CD called "Old Time River Man", where he asks the question;

"Where does an old time riverman go
After he's passed away?
Does his soul still keep watch on the deep
For the rest of the river day?
Does he then come back as a channel cat
Or the wasps that light on the wheel?,
Or the birds that fly in the summer sky
Or the fish swimming under the keel?"





 

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  posted on 4/13/2006 at 02:17 PM






The album that cleared the way for a new approach. In 1971, before the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band brought the hippies and the old schoolers together on the historic "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" album, John Hartford and the Dobrolic Plectoral Society broke the ground with 1971's "Steam Powered Areo Plane" album that started all of the newgrass, hippygrass, jazzgrass, and jamgrass that followed.Left to right is Narman Blake, John Hartford, Tut Taylor, and the late Vassar Clements.



Riverboat Captain and musician John Hartford on the Cumberland River - from New Yorker Magazine.

 

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  posted on 4/14/2006 at 11:39 AM


http://www.thecrookedroad.org/

 

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  posted on 4/14/2006 at 12:20 PM
Like Derek has said, Doc is truly an American treasure. I'm glad to say I have had the opportunity to play with Doc on stage. If anyone is interested, I've got a Doc and Merle Watson show from around 1983 or 1984. Great show. PM me if you are interested.

 

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  posted on 4/14/2006 at 01:06 PM
quote:
Fleck explores 'Hidden Land' in new album
JOHN GEROME
Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It would be a mistake to peg banjo master Bela Fleck as a bluegrass musician - or a jazz musician, rock musician, blues musician or classical musician, for that matter.

Since their 1990 debut, Fleck and his group, the Flecktones, have fused all those musical styles and more on their mostly instrumental records.

Their new album, "The Hidden Land," finds the quartet going it alone after a couple of guest-heavy albums, featuring Dave Matthews, Shawn Colvin, Jon Anderson, Branford Marsalis and Nickel Creek.

Fleck describes the record as a return to the group's essence; fans can judge for themselves during a summer tour. Fleck spoke with The Associated Press recently at a Nashville coffee shop.

---

AP: "The Hidden Land" breaks with your recent albums in that there are no guests.

Fleck: It is a return to our original concept in making records. The new rule was that we would do anything we wanted as long as it came from us. We would do only what we can do live.

AP: How did older fans react to hearing lyrics with your songs?

Fleck: People were a little upset. I could imagine the band with vocals if it was the right vocalist. But then you open yourself up to the whole world of lyrics, and writing lyrics is another art. It's just not really what I do. When people listen to Flecktones music they can make any interpretation they want to. There are no words to tell them what the song is supposed to be.

AP: When did you begin playing the banjo and what inspired you?

Fleck: I started playing when I was 15. I grew up in New York City so it was a bit odd to my friends. But the reason I started playing banjo was that I fell in love with it after hearing it on the "Beverly Hillbillies" television show. Then when the movie "Deliverance" came out it became a big hit and everybody in the United States was aware of the banjo. That's when my grandfather got me a banjo.

AP: Did you start out playing bluegrass?

Fleck: I started with a lot of bluegrass and folk music because that's where the banjo was at. If you wanted to learn the banjo you were directed to people who played bluegrass. So I came into it from the bluegrass side.

AP: After moving to Boston to join the Tasty Licks you relocated to Lexington, Ky. Was that part of your education as a musician?

Fleck: I felt like I really needed to get the Southern side of the banjo. I needed to understand not just the Northern approach but understand why Earl Scruggs was so important and JD Crowe and Ralph Stanley and all this stuff.

AP: At the same time you were incorporating jazz and classical into your music?

Fleck: I was kind of a hotshot coming into Lexington. I was playing all kinds of modern stuff. I would go play with jazz groups and play with rock bands. I'd do everything I could. But I was also into Crowe and studying a lot of Earl Scruggs tapes.

When you're into jazz and into more technical virtuosic stuff when you're young, you tend to pooh-pooh the older guys and say they're over the hill and they're not really doing anything. As I listened more and more to what Earl and Crowe were doing I started to see it very differently. There was something hip about what they were doing, something very powerful.

AP: Were you accepted by the more traditional players in the South?

Fleck: They liked the idea that I was a good player and everything but they thought I had a lot to learn. They didn't think I had a good sound, they thought I was tasteless. But they liked my enthusiasm and my youthful thinking and my technical ability. They respected enough about me that we became really good friends.

AP: You came to Nashville to join New Grass Revival and stayed in that group about nine years before forming the Flecktones. What did you learn from that experience?

Fleck: They were a great band, very progressive. It was a quantum leap for me, like going to the big leagues from the medium leagues. New Grass Revival encouraged long soloing and different time signatures. So I started writing things with compound time signatures and trying to get them to play it.

AP: Why did you decide to leave?

Fleck: What was happening through the `80s is my music was getting more complex and I was trying to drag all these great bluegrass musicians into it with me. At a certain point I was feeling like I was putting everybody out by making them play this stuff, and I felt like I needed to find some guys who would just eat this stuff up.

AP: Were you surprised by the Flecktones' immediate success?

Fleck: You'd think music that is very uncommercial and odd and artsy would be something you play in small places and build up over years and years. But we were embraced right away. Warner Brothers signed us, we got a video in heavy rotation. There was a window at VH1 that was open for a very short time when they broke Tracy Chapman and broke us. All of a sudden we were on Johnny Carson three or four times, we were on Arsenio Hall. We played Carnegie Hall our first year.

AP: A few critics would say that groups like the Flecktones hurt bluegrass by diluting it. Your response?

Fleck: I think anybody who brings more attention to the music, even if they're playing a hybrid, does something good for it. When I'm playing for a college crowd of young kids and I play some bluegrass banjo in the middle of the show the kids go berserk. And after the show when I talk to people they say, `How could I find out more about that?' `Who should I listen to?' `What's a great bluegrass record I can get?' They're very interested in it.


 

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  posted on 4/14/2006 at 01:08 PM
quote:
Like Derek has said, Doc is truly an American treasure. I'm glad to say I have had the opportunity to play with Doc on stage. If anyone is interested, I've got a Doc and Merle Watson show from around 1983 or 1984. Great show. PM me if you are interested.



And, there it is.

Cool. Heck, I might take you up on that one as I have no Merle live.

Hey Trorrer, play that one!!

DH

 

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  posted on 4/14/2006 at 03:54 PM
I have nice set from the Delaware Valley Bluesgrass Festival (from 1996 I think).
It's a great festival in south Jersey Labor Day weekend.
Doc is amazing, a true American Treasure.

I'll dig out the show and offer in the trades forum.

 
 


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