Doc Watson

Join a celebration of the life and music of iconic American music figure Doc Watson with a performance by his longtime musical companions and good friends on June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Moss Arts Center.

Remembering Doc: T. Michael Coleman, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little, and Wayne Henderson” is part of the Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming and will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

On stage playing together for this tribute to Watson will be his longtime bassist T. Michael Coleman and guitar companion Jack Lawrence, as well as his close friends Jeff Little on piano and Wayne Henderson on guitar.

Blind from infancy, Arthel “Doc” Watson (1923-2012) was a guitarist, songwriter, and singer of bluegrass, blues, country, and folk music. He was among the most acclaimed American musicians during the second half of the 20th century, and remains a strong influence for current American roots musicians.

Watson was a master of two acoustic guitar styles — flat-picking and finger-style — and could play old-time banjo and harmonica with considerable skill. He was also an evocative singer with a resonant baritone voice and an extensive repertoire of traditional and contemporary songs.

Having enjoyed a 50-year performing career, recording acclaimed albums for major as well as independent record labels, Watson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the National Medal of Arts.

Watson often performed and recorded with other legendary musicians, including Clarence Ashley, Clarence White, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Jean Ritchie, and Ricky Skaggs, and regularly recorded and toured with his guitar-playing son Merle Watson (1949-1986), as well as bassist/singer T. Michael Coleman, guitarist Jack Lawrence, and multi-instrumentalist/singer David Holt.


Tickets are $15 for general admission ($20 after May 31) and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Related events

Prior to the performance at 5 p.m. on June 9, Appalachian music scholar Ted Olson will provide a presentation on the legacy of Doc Watson and the new four-CD box set from Craft Recordings. Then at 6 p.m., concert artists and audience members are invited to share memories of Doc Watson. Both events will take place in the Moss Arts Center’s Cube.

On Saturday, June 8, at 2 p.m., the Moss Arts Center and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology will host “Cube Dance: Square Dance Cubed,” an old-time traditional square dance — cubed. The event combines the area’s strong local tradition of Appalachian square dance with Virginia Tech’s cutting-edge creativity.

Take part in a first-ever community dance experiment in the Moss Arts Center’s Cube, a state-of-the-art theatre and high-tech laboratory. Participants will take turns putting on wearable sensors and their movements through the square dance figures will be captured by the Cube’s infrared cameras. The motion-capture data will be visualized and projected in real time onto elevated screens.

The event will feature live old-time music by the Happy Hollow String Band and calling by LP Kelly, as well as a performance with motion capture by the Hoorah Cloggers. All ages and abilities are welcome and dance instruction will be provided. No partner or experience is necessary.

All of the related events are free, but admission is first-come, first-served for each event. To guarantee a seat, please register online.