Dr. Fred Metting is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire-Manchester where he teaches courses in American literature, American nature writers, literary folklore, and American music. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Metting has written a previous book on the American musicians Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal.2006 0-7734-5840-9
Arthel “Doc” Watson, an 82-year-old musician from North Carolina, is one of the two or three most important acoustic guitarists in American musical history. The story of Watson’s music is a rich and complex narrative which involves the listener in an exploration of the music of the Scottish settlers in the Appalachian Mountains and the changes in that music as the mountaineers were influenced by the African American music of itinerant laborers in the nineteenth century and by sounds from records and radio early in the twentieth century. Despite Watson’s importance to American acoustic music and despite the richness of the story of his music, a full study of his music has not been realized until now. This book explores the musical culture of Watson’s immediate family (the hymns of Watson’s church, the ballads and fiddle tunes of his immediate family, and the music of his mountain home) as well as the extended aural world that came to the mountains through records and radio when Watson was a young boy. Finally this study explores Watson’s important contributions to the folk revival of the 1960s when he helped change the role of the acoustic guitar in American music. This work will be important to students of American music and folk culture.