Columbus Stockade Blues


by Jason D. Johnson

On the wall of my recording studio at home there is an inscription in chalk.  It’s a line from Guy Clark’s song Dublin Blues.  It reads:  ”And I have heard Doc Watson play Columbus Stockade Blues.”

In that song of heartache, Guy stuck Doc Watson right up there with Da Vinci and Michelangelo.  Man, was he ever right.

I was privileged enough to know exactly what Guy meant.  I got to see Doc Watson play about three years ago.  He was 86 years old.  I’ve seen a lot of fantastic guitarists live in my life.  Seen plenty on video.  I’ve played with some great guitarists myself.  Watched BB King roll an audience.  Gawked as John Frusciante pulled notes from the other side of Pluto.  I’ve never witnessed anything like Doc Watson.  86 years old and his fingers were flying, calling down anthems from the clouds and shooting them all over that music hall.  I was humbled just sitting there.  I’m humbled sitting here now just thinking about it.

People write a lot about active aging.  Pro-aging.  Healthy aging.  We do it all the time on this blog.  While we were writing and philosophizing about it, Doc was the embodiment of it.  He was the embodiment of “living” his entire life.   From 1 to 89.  May we all be so lucky.   And thank goodness that even though his flesh and blood will no longer be slinging his guitar up onto his lap for a pickin’ spell, his song will ring as long as there is music.

And life.

Click here and appreciate.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images.


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