In Their Words: “I knew I wanted to have Billy Strings play with me on ‘Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag.’ The moment we played together the very first time at MerleFest (2016), I heard his beautiful phrasing and his Doc quotes that took me back to hearing Doc when I was a teenager. Billy has Doc in his DNA, so getting him to come and record these tunes was only a matter of finding a time to capture it in a studio. The actual recording was quick, and we only did a couple of takes and we were done.
“I had never heard Doc in Australia as I had spent most of my life in very rural areas where record stores were rare and music by Chet, Merle and Doc was impossible to find. It was an American tourist who saw me play at a show and came up to me afterwards and told me I sounded a bit like Doc Watson. I said, ‘Who is Doc Watson?’ He gave his tape out of his car stereo and I heard Doc for the first time. I think that was around 1973-4. I was smitten with his singing and his great playing, and I could hear the influences of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis all over his playing, but there was some Jimmie Rodgers, too. Then I found more recordings that led to some his fiddle tunes and blazing guitar works! My personal favorite recording by Doc is the album Reflections — a duets album with Chet Atkins. His legacy and body of work and influence are monumental and unequalled in my eyes. Thanks Doc for showing so many of us the way!” — Tommy Emmanuel
Photo Credit: Simone Cecchett (Tommy Emmanuel); Alysse Gafkjen (Billy Strings)