THE VOICE OF WILKES COMMUNITY COLLEGE
VOLUME 24, NUMBER 6
WILKESBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
APRIL 26, 1994
Doc A Key
The Merle Watson Memorial Fes
tival, now in its seventh year, bears the
indelible mark of Arthel "Doc” Wat
son of Deep Gap.
Doc is a chief draw for many of the
top names in acoustic music who
come to the festival, not to mention
the fans. In addition to Doc and his
family being official hosts of the festi
val, he is closely involved in choosing
musicians for the event and helping to
maintain its family atmosphere.
The festival is a time of reunions for
Doc and many others. He particularly
enjoys playing music with old friends
through the weekend.
Doc said he is pleased with how the
festival is remaining family-oriented
and focused on the music he likes.
Doc describes his own music as
"traditional plus whatever I want to
add. It’s not bluegrass, but we do a
little bit of bluegrass now and then.
It’s a lot of old-time country, which is
traditional American music, with
bluegrass and some blues thrown in. I
might even play a country version of a
The musical roots of Doc Watson,
who has been blind since infancy, go
back to his raising in the mountains of
Watauga County. Early on, he learned
the old-time fiddle tunes of people
like his father-in-law, Gaither Carl
ton, and another Deep Gap man
named Uncle Ben Miller.
Some of his strongest early influen
ces were the original Carter Family,
Jimmy Roger and old-time blues musi
cians like John Hurt, Skip James and
"And then came along Merle Travis
and Chet (Atkins), and they are my
two top guitar idols,” he said. Merle
Watson was named for Merle Travis.
Doc was "discovered” by Ralph
Rinzler of the Smithsonian Institution
in 1960 and made his first "urban”
performance at Public School 41 in
Greenwich Village in 1961 with Clar
ence Ashley, Clint Howard, Fred Price
and Gaither Carlton.
In 1964,Merle joined Doc as accom
panist, road manager and guide. In the
years that followed, the relationship
developed to where Doc describes
Merle as the best friend he ever had.
He still marvels at how quickly Merle
mastered finger-sty le picking. Doc and
Merle Watson won four Grammys.
Doc Watson today considers him
self retired but he still performs for
certain causes and at selected loca
tions across the country. "I’m doing
about a tenth of what I was doing
before I retired,” he said.
The musical talent of Doc and
Merle Watson contiues through
Richard Watson of Watauga County,
who is their grandson and son,
Richard has become a festival regu
lar and is known for the blues and
blues-type ballads he plays on guitar.
Merle’s style is easily detected in his
MR. HUGH HASH
Diesel Mechanics instructor,
Hugh Hash, has been an omnipresent
figure at WCC for 21 years full time
and three years part time. "The job
has been very rewarding over the years
and 1 am proud of the success of the
students,” stated Mr. Hash.
A native of Piney Creek near
Sparta, he is married to Evelyn Hash.
They have five children and six grand
children. One of his many hobbies
include collecting antique tractors,
repairing them and working on his
farm. Mr. Hash commented that he
would like his area of work to be
stronger, developed more, and gain
more interested students in the diesel
program. He is proud of his students
he now has, and the progress they
have made. He feels that the students
leave WCC with knowledge that the
If you don’t know Mr. Hash, make
it a point to visit the diesel shop at the
top of the hill and get acquainted.
PHI THETA KAPPA TO SPONSOR BLOODMOBILE AT WCC
The Wilkes Community College honors fraternity. Phi Theta Kappa, will
sponsor a bloodmobile on the WCC Campus on Wednesday, May 4 from
10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The bloodmobile will be held in Thompson Hall
in the Student Commons.
Spring Is Here!