A Tribute to Doc

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Aug. 15, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 25, 2013
A Tribute to Doc

Charles Welch, left, and Uwe Kruger will perform at a Doc Watson tribute concert in Todd Aug. 24.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Tickets are now on sale for the 2013 summer concert finale in Todd, featuring the Kruger Brothers, Wayne Henderson and Charles Welch.

The outdoor concert is slated for Saturday, Aug. 24, at 4 p.m. in Walter & Anne Cook Memorial Park in the Todd Rural Historic District.

The event brings together some of the late Doc Watson’s good friends, and the concert is dedicated to the memory of the Grammy Award-winning artist who generously performed each August in Todd to benefit the community.

Watson’s concerts in Todd have been described as akin to sitting on his front porch. He and his wife, the late Rosa Lee Watson, often invited family and friends who did not get the opportunity to see his performances on the road.

“The concert will be keeping in that tradition with music that Watson loved, but also some of his good friends sharing stories and anecdotes about their times with him,” a concert organizer said.

As masters of innovating bluegrass music, The Kruger Brothers need no introduction in the High Country. Jens Kruger (banjo, vocals) and brother Uwe Kruger (guitar, lead vocals) are natives of Switzerland and say they were friends with Doc Watson long before they ever met him at MerleFest in 1997.

In the years that followed, the Krugers and their third “brother,” Joel Landsberg (bass, vocals), were frequent guests at Watson’s home in Deep Gap. They moved to Wilkes County in 2002, and their most recent album, released earlier this year, is “Remembering Doc Watson.”

Joining The Kruger Brothers are Charles Welch and Wayne Henderson. Welch, a lifelong friend of Watson’s, traveled on the road with Doc and his son, the late Merle Watson, as a teenager.

He was playing guitar without Watson’s knowledge for several years and was performing at a coffee shop on King Street in Boone one evening, when his friend dropped in unannounced and sat in the audience. From there, Welch performed and toured with Watson for years and was always a stage companion to Watson at his performances in Todd.

Hailing from Rugby, Va., Wayne Henderson is a world-renowned luthier, whose acoustic guitars are sought after by some of the biggest names in entertainment. In 1995, he received a National Heritage Fellowship at a White House ceremony in recognition of his instrument-making skills.

Henderson is a finger-style guitar picker who hosts his own Wayne Henderson Music Festival, which draws thousands of acoustic guitar aficionados and musicians to southwest Virginia each June. His guitar shop was a favorite hangout for Watson.

Advance tickets are $15 and available online at ToddNC.org. Tickets can also be purchased at these locations throughout the High Country: Todd Mercantile and RiverGirl Fishing Company in Todd, Scott’s Guitar, Ashe Arts Council and Ashe Chamber of Commerce in West Jefferson, and Appalachian Music and Boone Area Chamber of Commerce in Boone.

Tickets at the gate on the day of the concert cost $18. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. Free parking in the historic district is limited, but several pay lots are available, as well as a free shuttle service from a satellite parking area at the corner of N.C. 194 and Todd Railroad Grade Road behind Todd Fire & Rescue.

The concert will be held rain or shine, and guests should bring a blanket or lawn chairs for outdoor seating. A concession stand will offer hot dogs, hamburgers and cold drinks.

The concert is produced by the Todd Community Preservation Organization, a nonprofit organization that has been hosting free summer park concerts for more than a decade. According to organizers, proceeds from the event will go toward funding future music events.

For more information, call (336) 877-5401 or email (info@toddnc.org)

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