Local musicians react to Watson’s death


The local statue of Doc Watson is covered in flowers left in memory for the famous musician. Photo by Olivia Wilkes  |  The AppalachianFollowing Deep Gap native Doc Watson’s death Tuesday, musicians are continuing to pay tribute to his life.

The eight-time Grammy winner fell in his home last week before transferring to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem and underwent colon surgery.

Watson was a lifelong Watauga native, and despite gaining national recognition for his music, he wanted to remain in the Watauga community.

“I’ve been asked at least 20 times, ‘Why don’t you move to Nashville, where everything’s going on?’” Watson told the Watauga Democrat. “I’m a country boy. I don’t need to be in the city.”

In 2011, a statue of Watson was placed on the corner of West King and Depot Street – the same corner Watson performed for pocket change before his big break.

During his time in the hospital, some people began placing flowers on the local statue.

In lieu of flowers, senior history major and musician Matthew Weaver placed a guitar pick on the statue.
“It’s something I had to do in tribute of Doc – to give him one of my guitar picks,” Weaver said. “It’s just a connection between he and I as musicians.”

Weaver drove nearly two hours from Salisbury Tuesday evening to see the statue of the iconic musician.

Weaver said Watson had always been an inspiration for him.

“We only have one Doc Watson in this world,” Weaver said.”The thing is, just keep going the way I’m going, keep playing and performing a lot of the music that he has performed through the years, keep his legacy and tradition alive as a fellow musician and just keep the spirit of Doc Watson alive in our performances and concerts and shows and I’m sure Doc is smiling down on everybody performing his music and memorializing him as an artist.”

Watson was set to perform at the MusicFest ‘n Sugar Grove July 13 and 14, where Boone trio The New River Boys are set to perform.

“We will remember Doc as an example to all musicians that good, wholesome music that people love to hear can only come through years of hard work,” guitarist for The New River Boys Andrew Jacobs said.

Despite Watson’s death, the MusicFest is still scheduled to take place.

Watson’s funeral is scheduled today at 3 p.m. at Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap, N.C.

Story: MICHAEL BRAGG, Senior Arts and Entertainment Reporter, LAURA GUIDRY, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Photo: OLIVIA WILKES, Senior Photographer