Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
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Listen to Dolly’s newly recorded rendition of “The Last Thing on My Mind” from the upcoming album I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson At 100, releasing April 28
Dolly Parton joins a dazzling array of musicians, across generations and genres, who have contributed to a new album that celebrates the deep influence and legacy of Doc Watson, the North Carolina guitarist, singer and songwriter who would have turned 100 on March 3 of this year. Releasing April 28 on FLi Records / Budde Music, I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 features new renditions of some of Doc’s most beloved recordings from his expansive catalog, and, along with Dolly, features Nora Brown, Rosanne Cash, Jerry Douglas, Chris Eldridge, Steve Earle, Bill Frisell, Corey Harris, Valerie June, Jack Lawrence, Lionel Loueke, Jeff Parker, Ariel Posen, Marc Ribot, Matthew Stevens and Yasmin Williams.
“Doc Watson is everyone’s hero and a great guitar player,” says Dolly. “Some say he is the absolute best, and I was honored to get to work with him a few times in my career.”
“The Last Thing on My Mind”
“The Last Thing On My Mind,” written by Tom Paxton in the early 60s, was a staple of Doc Watson’s catalog and recorded/performed by Dolly throughout her career. She released a recording of it in 1967 with Porter Wagoner, and Doc and Dolly performed it together in 2001 at MerleFest.
In Memory of Doc Watson
Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson earned 7 GRAMMY Awards and 23 nominations including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1997 from President Clinton and has been the subject of multiple books, boxed sets and compilation albums. Born in Deep Gap, North Carolina on March 3, 1923, Doc grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry, Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family and learned guitar at a young age. In the 1950s he played electric guitar in regional dance bands and was encouraged to play acoustic music by folklorist and Smithsonian curator Ralph Rinzler, who met Doc on a trip to North Carolina. Doc was an integral part of the early 1960s folk revival and became known as one of the greatest flatpicking guitarists of all time, a style that influenced the playing of countless guitarists.
Doc, who lost his eyesight at a young age, was also considered a master of the banjo. He released nearly 30 albums spanning 50 years and collaborated with Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Del McCoury, Taj Mahal, Mississippi John Hurt, David Grisman and many others. His work embraced the regional music of North Carolina and he helped to change what people thought about mountain music through his repertoire of traditional and folk recordings. Doc also presided over MerleFest from its inception in 1988, founded to honor the memory of his son, Merle, as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Taking place each spring since 1988, MerleFest has become one of the premiere music festivals in the country and I Am A Pilgrim will be released timed to this year’s festival. Doc continued performing until he passed away in May of 2012.
I Am A Pilgrim
I Am A Pilgrim is bursting with influence of Doc Watson’s talent and charisma. A mix of vocal and instrumental tracks, it finds a host of musicians – including Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, numerous GRAMMY Award winners, countless NPR Tiny Desk alumni and recipients of countless other awards and accolades – interpreting his work through a prismatic lens of not only folk and bluegrass but blues, jazz, and influences of experimental and rock music as well. Given Doc’s seismic impact on guitar playing, it’s no surprise that so many guitar playing styles are represented here, from the finger tapping style of Yasmin Williams (“Doc’s Guitar,” a Doc Watson original) to the slide guitar of Ariel Posen (“Will The Circle Be Unbroken”) and the harmonics featured on Lionel Loueke’s version of “Reuben’s Train.” Valerie June and Bill Frisell join forces for a haunting version of “Handsome Molly,” a traditional song that Doc released in 1961. Nora Brown, a teenager turning heads with her take on old time music, contributes a moving rendition of the hymn “Am I Born To Die.” Rosanne Cash and Steve Earle each reimagine classic traditionals embraced by Doc with moving renditions of “I Am A Pilgrim” and “Make Me A Pallet,” respectively. The album concludes with “Your Lone Journey,” a song that Doc penned while mourning his son. It was recorded by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for their Raising Sand album and lovingly interpreted here by Bill Frisell.
I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 Track List:
- Shady Grove – Jerry Douglas
- The Last Thing On My Mind – Dolly Parton
- Am I Born To Die – Nora Brown
- Alberta – Jeff Parker & Matthew Stevens
- Make Me A Pallet – Steve Earle
- I Am A Pilgrim – Rosanne Cash
- Florida Blues – Jack Lawrence
- How Long Blues – Corey Harris
- WIll The Circle Be Unbroken – Ariel Posen
- Handsome Molly – Valerie June & Bill Frisell
- Doc’s Guitar – Yasmin Williams
- Little Sadie – Chris Eldridge
- Reuben’s Train – Lionel Loueke
- The Lost Soul – Marc Ribot
- Your Lone Journey – Bill Frisell
Now Available for Pre-Order
I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100, featuring Dolly’s newly recorded rendition of “The Last Thing on My Mind,” will be released on April 28, 2023, and is now available for pre-order.