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Usually on Thursday night, I get together with my friend Jay and "jamming" (if you can call it that) on the guitar. He played for years and has only recently taken it back up. I've been taking lessons for about a year now. I see myself getting better, to the point where I say I play a bit rather than say that I'm just starting.

Last night, though, we went to the Ryman Auditorium for the last of their summer Bluegrass Nights series. I've been wanting to go to these for awhile, but they are on weeknights and their schedule and mine did not seem to cooperate.

Last night, the series closed with the legendary Doc Watson (link to the Wikipedia entry). He lost his vision before his first birthday, but that has not stopped him from becoming an amazing guitar player and singer whose influence has been felt in bluegrass, blues, and classic country.

Doc is now 88 years old. He still plays about two gigs a month. His voice is strong (he even yodeled) and his guitar playing is still beyond what I'll ever accomplish. (Interesting story - Doc played in a square dance band that did not have a fiddle player, so he had to teach himself a way to play the guitar (i.e., flat-picking) to play the fiddle part.) He told funny stories. He played harmonica for a couple of songs, as well.

In short, it was absolutely amazing. One of those musical experiences that can only happen in Nashville. And that was before Sam Bush (again, Wikipedia), another amazing performer, sat in on fiddle.

This video from a couple of years ago gives some sense of the flavor of the evening. Actually, he told this same story last night before the song. Enjoy.


polar bear

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