Merle Watson

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Merle Watson
Merle Watson c. 1979
Merle Watson c. 1979
Background information
Birth nameEddy Merle Watson
Also known asMerle Watson
Born(1949-02-08)February 8, 1949
Deep Gap, North Carolina
DiedOctober 23, 1985(1985-10-23) (aged 36)
Lenoir, North Carolina
Instrument(s)guitar, banjo

Eddy Merle Watson (February 8, 1949 – October 23, 1985) was an American folk and bluegrass guitarist. He was best known for his performances with his father, Doc Watson. Merle played and recorded albums together with his father from age 15 until his death in a tractor accident 21 years later.[1] Merle was widely recognized as one of the best flat-picking and slide guitarists of his generation.[2] MerleFest, one of the world's largest and most-prestigious folk music festivals, is held annually in Wilkesboro, NC and is named in his honor.[3]

Merle and his father released a version of "Bottle of Wine" that reached No. 71 on the U.S. country chart.[4]


Watson died in a farm accident in 1985 at age 36. He was driving a tractor to a nearby house when it slipped down an embankment and pinned him beneath it.[5]


All albums were in collaboration with his father, Doc Watson.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ Eddy Merle Watson, Bluegrass Guitarist, Accidentally Killed at 36, Los Angeles Times, October 24, 1985
  2. ^ Merlefest at 21, Doc Watson at 85: Festival Notes,
  3. ^ 1988 Archived 2014-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, MerleFest
  4. ^ Doc & Merle Watson, "Bottle of Wine" Chart Position Retrieved January 27, 2014
  5. ^ "Eddy Merle Watson, Bluegrass Guitarist, Accidentally Killed at 36". LA Times. Los Angeles. October 24, 1985. Retrieved October 16, 2020.