Doc Watson: Blind But Now I See (Book Review)
After listening to him for years, I was finally able to see Doc Watson live at the Ryman Auditorium in the mid-90s. Even by then, Watson had been a living legend for decades. Perhaps even more than his awe-inspiring guitar playing and pure singing voice, I remember being struck by Doc’s earnestness, humility, and magnetic charm. If you’ve never seen him live, such praise sounds almost corny – the type of thing you’re supposed to say about an “authentic” folk hero from the mountains of North Carolina. If you have seen Doc live, though, you can’t help but be overcome by his humble charisma. Kent Gustavson’s exhaustively researched biography, Blind But Now I See: The Biography of Music Legend Doc Watson, reinforces this notion, too, while providing the history, context, and events that shaped Watson into one of America’s most revered musicians. While the book celebrates Watson’s legendary history, Gustavson doesn’t shy away from some of the darker strains in Watson’s life and personality.
“There was a feeling… that Doc was sort of like a spectacular natural feature of the landscape; inevitable, fully formed, iconic. He seemed ageless, and his so-called disability and spectacular transcendence of that along with his folksy manner made him a kind of mythic character, sort of a household god.”
Dustin Ogdin is a freelance writer and journalist based in Nashville, TN. His work has been featured by MTV News, the Associated Press, and various other stops in the vast environs of the world wide web. His personal blog and home base is Ear•Tyme Music. Click below to read more and network with Dustin.