An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision prior to his first birthday.
He often performed with his son, (Eddy) Merle Watson, who was killed in a tractor accident at the age of 36 in 1985.
He plays in both flatpicking and fingerpicking style, but is best known for his flatpick work. His virtuosity combined with his authenticity as a mountain musician made him a highly influential figure in the folk music revival of the early sixties. He pioneered the fast and flashy bluegrass lead guitar style which has been adopted and extended by others such as Clarence White and Tony Rice.
He is also an excellent and soulful singer, who started by developing a repertoire of mountain ballads which he learned via the oral tradition of his home area in Deep Gap, North Carolina.
Doc Watson has won five Grammy awards, four of these for folk recordings.