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A New York Evening Celebrating Doc Watson’s Centennial

The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to present an evening of conversation moderated by WNYC’s John Schaefer with Steve Earle, Bill Frisell, Matthew Stevens, and Yasmin Williams to celebrate the album, I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100. This intimate discussion will take place at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York with a performance to follow.

This performance is one of the many programs to be featured in the GRAMMY Museum’s New York City program series, which includes bringing a slate of the GRAMMY Museum’s renowned GRAMMY In The Schools Education Programs and Public Programs to the East Coast in partnership with the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “A New York Evening With…” is generously supported by the Dawn and Brian Hoesterey Family Foundation.  

ABOUT I AM A PILGRIM: DOC WATSON AT 100:

A new tribute album that celebrates the deep influence and legacy of the legendary North Carolina folk musician, Doc Watson. Titled I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100, the album includes an impressive and diverse lineup of artists including Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal, Jeff Parker, Matthew Stevens (who also produced the album), Valerie June, Bill Frisell, Nora Brown, Jerry Douglas, Chris Eldridge, Steve Earle, Corey Harris, Jack Lawrence, Lionel Loueke, Ariel Posen, Marc Ribot and Yasmin Williams.

I Am A Pilgrim pays homage to Doc Watson’s lasting legacy and influence on American music, showcasing the enduring power and relevance of Doc Watson’s music, a century after his birth, and has been spotlighted by NPR’s Fresh Air, WNYC, Rolling Stone, SPIN, Stereogum, Garden & Gun, No Depression and Folk Alley.  

Considered one of modern music’s most influential figures, the album features new renditions of some of Watson’s most beloved recordings from his expansive catalog. It highlights Watson’s talent and charisma while featuring contributions from Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, numerous GRAMMY Award winners, and several NPR Tiny Desk alumni – interpreting his work through a prismatic lens of folk, bluegrass, blues, jazz, experimental and rock music. Given Watson’s seismic impact on guitar playing, it’s no surprise that so many guitar playing styles are represented here, from the finger tapping style of Yasmin Williams (“Doc’s Guitar,” a Watson original) to the slide guitar of Ariel Posen (“Will The Circle Be Unbroken”) and the harmonics featured on Lionel Loueke’s version of “Reuben’s Train.” Nora Brown, a teenager turning heads with her take on old time music, contributes a moving rendition of the hymn “Am I Born To Die.” The album concludes with “Your Lone Journey,” a song that Watson penned while mourning his son, and lovingly interpreted here by Bill Frisell.

Album highlights include Valerie June and Bill Frisell’s “Handsome Molly,” Jeff Parker and Matthew Stevens’ take on “Alberta,” Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal’s “I Am A Pilgrim,” and Dolly Parton’s version of “The Last Thing On My Mind,” a song that Parton recorded in 1967 and performed by Parton and Watson at Merlefest together in 2001. 

Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson earned 7 GRAMMY Awards and 23 nominations including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1997 from President Clinton and has been the subject of multiple books, boxed sets and compilation albums. He was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina on March 3, 1923, grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry, Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family and learned guitar at a young age. Watson was an integral part of the early 1960s folk revival and became known as one of the greatest flatpicking guitarists of all time, a style that influenced the playing of countless guitarists. Watson, who lost his eyesight at a young age, was also considered a master of the banjo. He released nearly 30 albums spanning 50 years and collaborated with Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Del McCoury, Taj Mahal, Mississippi John Hurt, David Grisman and many others. 

His work embraced the regional music of North Carolina and he helped to change what people thought about mountain music through his repertoire of traditional and folk recordings. Watson also presided over MerleFest from its inception in 1988, and has become one of the premiere music festivals in the country.

Check-In: 6:30pm

Show Time: 7:30pm

 

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