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March 14, 2013
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Doc Watson tribute Saturday at the Center

Grammy Award winners David Holt, Bryan Sutton and T. Michael Coleman will bring their shared love of North Carolina mountain music to the Grass Valley stage. Inspired by the late American folk icon, Doc Watson, the three musicians will perform a tribute concert presented by Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Over the years, all three musicians have performed with Watson. In their tribute concert, the trio will use a variety of instruments, three-part harmonies and a mixture of traditional and newly written songs.

Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson was an American guitarist, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music. Blind since he was a baby, Watson won seven Grammy awards as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was known for his flat-picking and finger-picking style on the acoustic guitar. Watson died at the age of 89 May 29, 2012.

A four-time Grammy Award winner, Holt accompanied Watson on tour for 14 years up until his death. In 2002, Holt and Watson’s “Legacy” CD won a Grammy for Best Folk Recording. Holt has spent the last 35 years collecting and performing traditional music from southern mountaineers, including Roy Acuff and 122-year-old Susie Brunson.

Bryan Sutton has been called the finest acoustic guitarist in America. He is a five-time winner of the IBMA Guitarist of the Year Award and in 2007 won a Grammy award with Doc Watson for Best Instrumental.

Bassist T. Michael Coleman played with Doc and Merle Watson for 17 years as well as with the “Seldom Scene” and “Chesapeake.” Coleman is also an award-winning videographer and filmmaker.

It was at Merlefest 2011 that the three first played a public concert together. They realized they had much musical common ground.

“It was a good fit. We all cut our teeth on the same music,” said guitarist Sutton.

Holt first worked with Coleman in 1984 when he appeared with Watson on Holt’s TNN series, “Fire On the Mountain.”

“Doc, Merle, Michael and I had a very similar since of driving rhythm. We had fun the first time we played together,” Holt said.

Holt first met Sutton when he was a young man growing up in western North Carolina. Sutton, and his guitar playing appeared on Holt’s “Folkways” TV show.

“At a very young age, he was a phenomenal guitarist. By the time Bryan moved to Nashville to do studio work he was the best guitarist in North Carolina. Now I think you could safely say he is one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world,” said Holt.

With the Grass Valley performance, Holt, Sutton and Coleman want to keep Watson’s music moving forward.

“Doc had the ability to make old songs sound new and exciting. We plan to use what we have learned from Doc to do the same thing with modern audiences,” said Coleman.

Tickets for Saturday’s show are $22 for members of the Center for the Arts and $25 for non-members and are available at the Center’s Box Office and at BriarPatch Co-op.

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The Union Updated Mar 14, 2013 03:52PM Published Mar 14, 2013 09:00AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.