Long acknowledged as Americas premiere folk guitarist, Arthel Lane Doc Watson was born in what was then the tiny rural community of Deep Gap, North Carolina in the heart of the Blue Ridge mountains on March 3, 1923. Surrounded by music and musicians, Doc and his siblings grew up listening to hymns, murder ballads and down home string band music, all of which would later find places in his own repertoire. In 1953, Doc formed a honky tonk dance band with pianist Jack Williams called Jack Williams and his Country Gentlemen. Their repertoire consisted primarily of rockabilly, country and western, pop standards and square dance tunes, and Doc played electric guitar in this ensemble. To fill occasional square dance requests, Doc learned to flatpick fiddle tunes on the guitar, as Joe Maphis had done in the 1930s. Unlike his contemporaries Chet Atkins and Merle Travis, who started their professional careers playing acoustic guitars and later switched to electric, Doc began on electric and later made the transition to acoustic with the advent of the folk revival of the Sixties. Although he continued to work with Williams playing country and pop music, Doc never stopped playing traditional mountain music with his family and friends at home. These included Clarence Tom Ashley, Docs father-in-law Gaither Carlton, and two other neighbors, fiddler Fred Price and guitarist Clint Howard, all of whom would travel and record with Doc in the future. It was in these comfortable home surroundings that Doc was first discovered and recorded by folklorist Ralph Rinzler and collector and discographer Eugene Earle, who were on a collecting trip through North Carolina looking for traditional artists to record. Once these field recordings were released, as Old Time Music at Clarence Ashleys Vol. 1 (and later Vol. 2) on Folkways Records, Docs reputation grew, and he soon began playing for enthusiastic urban audiences farther from home.