What a cool way to honor a bluegrass legend.
An incredible and diverse group of artists are coming together to pay tribute to the great and enduring legacy of the late Doc Watson, for a tribute album called I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson At 100.
He was famously known as a master guitarist, singer and songwriter, combining touches of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music into his vast repertoire that touched millions throughout his career.
The North Carolina native would’ve turned 100 years old on March 3rd of this year, and in honor of that centennial anniversary, Dolly Parton, 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 are all featured on 15 different covers of some of his classic tunes.
The record will be released on April 28th, and the great Dolly Parton is kicking things off with the lead single, her cover of “The Last Thing On My Mind.”
It was written by Tom Paxton in the early 60s, and was a staple of Watson’s catalog and recorded/performed by Dolly throughout her career.
She released a recording of it in 1967 with Porter Wagoner, and Watson and Parton performed it together in 2001 at MerleFest, his festival in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, which brings together some of the best artists in bluegrass, blues, folk, country, singer-songwriter, rock and more.
Actually, the album will be released during this years festival weekend, and Dolly is thrilled to be part of this special project.
She says Doc is “everyone’s hero,” and it was an honor to work with him during his career:
“Doc Watson is everyone’s hero and a great guitar player.
Some say he is the absolute best, and I was honored to get to work with him a few times in my career.”
It’s easy to see how, coming from similar parts of the world and both becoming respective legends in their genre, they have a lot in common, and Dolly absolutely crushes her cover (not that I’d ever expect anything less, obviously)
She certainly did her friend Doc proud with this:
I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 tracklist:
1. Shady Grove – Jerry Douglas
2. The Last Thing On My Mind – Dolly Parton
3. Am I Born To Die – Nora Brown
4. Alberta – Jeff Parker & Matthew Stevens
5. Make Me A Pallet – Steve Earle
6. I Am A Pilgrim – Rosanne Cash
7. Florida Blues – Jack Lawrence
8. How Long Blues – Corey Harris
9. WIll The Circle Be Unbroken – Ariesen
10. Handsome Molly – Valerie June & Bill Frisell
11. Doc’s Guitar – Yasmin Williams
12. Little Sadie – Chris Eldridge
13. Reuben’s Train – Lionel Loueke
14. The Lost Soul – Marc Ribot
15. Your Lone Journey – Bill Frisell
Here’s a little of Dolly and Doc practicing “The Last Thing On My Mind” at MereFest way back in 2001: