Richard Eddy Watson passes 

Richard Eddy WatsonRichard Eddy Watson, guitar-playing grandson of Doc Watson and son of the late Merle Watson, has passed away. He died on Monday evening June 1, 2015, due to a heart attack.

Watson’s death came three years and two days after the death of his famous grandfather.

Like his father, after whom MerleFest is named, he was an exceptional blues guitar player. He had what has been described as a “front-porch style of picking”. Also, he possessed the modest and appreciative personal charm of his father.

While growing up Watson toured occasionally with his father and grandfather, playing dates in Europe as well as in the USA.

He often performed with his grandfather Doc from 1991, making appearances across the nation until Doc’s death in 2012. He was ever-present at MerleFest for many years.

Watson accompanied his grandfather and the multi-talented David Holt on their Hills of Home tour, one long-lasting product of which was the album, FestivaLink presents Doc Watson, David Holt, Richard Watson at MerleFest 4/29/06.

Richard and Doc WatsonHe dedicated his 1992 recording of Feeling the Blues, to his father, and he partnered Doc Watson on the Grammy-nominated Third Generation Blues (Sugar Hill, released in 1999) also. Richard Eddy Watson was the producer of that album.

Doc Watson once said of his grandson ..

“I could retire, but my grandson Richard plays a good blues guitar. One of the most gratifying things that happened to me after Merle left is the fact that Merle’s son Richard started playing the guitar.”

Ted Hagaman, the MerleFest festival director, released a statement of condolence on behalf of the festival  ….

“The entire MerleFest family was saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Watson. Richard has been a fixture at MerleFest for many years, helping to carry on the Watson legacy. He was a talented musician and he will be missed.”

Funeral arrangements have not been made at this time.

UPDATE (6/3/15)

Details about funeral arrangements are now available.

Funeral services for Richard Eddy Watson will be conducted Thursday afternoon, June 4, 2015 at 2:00 o’clock at Laurel Springs Baptist Church. The body will lie in state, at the church, from 12:00 until 2:00. Officiating will be Reverend Rick Cornejo and Pastor Tim Lynch. Burial will follow in the Doc and Merle Watson Family Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Thursday afternoon, from 12:00 until 1:30, at the church, prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Tantem Merle Webb Trust, in care of Bank of America, 1800 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, North Carolina 28607. Online condolences may be sent to the Watson family at

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.


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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.