Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


October 2, 2007
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007 at 8 p.m.


FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 27, 2007 – Described by The New York Times as a “mountain-music patriarch … Appalachian music master,” legendary folk musician Doc Watson is a recipient of six Grammy Awards, a National Medal of the Arts, a national Heritage Fellowship and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award. Watson, along with grandson Richard Watson and longtime collaborator, Grammy-winning banjoist David Holt, performs at George Mason University's Center for the Arts on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. In this program, titled "Hills of Home," Watson showcases his universally acknowledged genius and mastery of flatpicking guitar. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticketholders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Concert Hall’s Grand Tier III.

Guitar was predominantly a rhythm instrument at the turn of the 20th century. While many folk and rock and roll musicians helped bolster the guitar’s popularity, Doc Watson had the most profound influence on the way the acoustic flat top guitar is played as a lead instrument in folk, old-time and bluegrass music. “He sings songs matter-of-factly, without pretense, while running through them like a golden thread is his guitar playing: light, playful, slyly melodic, with the spontaneity of a master musician.” (The New York Times) Watson blends his traditional Appalachian musical roots with bluegrass, country, gospel and blues to create a unique style and an expansive repertoire. “We cover the gamut of mountain musical traditions from old-time to bluegrass, from ballads to blues,” said Holt, a folk musician from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fans not only enjoy Watson’s guitar playing, but also his smooth baritone voice, sharp wit and intellect, good nature, country charm and his wonderful storytelling ability. Watson’s admirers say that no matter how big the concert hall, he always makes you feel as if you are sitting with him in your own living room. “There have been some [guitarists] who have matched his technical facility and grace, but few who have approached Watson’s expressive abilities or the emotional conviction he brings to his playing and singing.” (The Washington Post)

Doc Watson was born in Deep Gap in the mountains of North Carolina, into a family and a region already rich in musical tradition. His mother, Annie Watson, sang traditional secular and religious songs and his father, General Watson, played the banjo, which he taught to his son. A defect in his eyes caused Watson to completely lose vision before his first birthday. However, his father ensured he never felt helpless. Watson’s father built him a banjo and also bought him a guitar when he was 13, because he had taught himself the chords to “When Roses Bloom in Dixieland.” In 1953, Watson began playing gigs for money with Jack Williams’s rockabilly/swing band. In 1960, he was invited to record for the first time, and subsequent invitations came to play concerts in New York and at the Newport Jazz Festival. A series of remarkable recordings, including collaborations with Flatt & Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Ricky Skaggs and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band helped make Watson the gold standard among traditional pickers. Watson performed for many years with his son Merle, who died in a tractor accident in 1985, and he now hosts the annual Merle Watson Memorial Festival. Since Merle’s death, Watson often performs with his grandson, Richard Watson, Merle’s son. Watson also performs with banjoist David Holt. Holt is known for his folk music and storytelling recordings, his numerous programs on TNN, Folkways on PBS, Riverwalk on public radio and for performing throughout the country. Watson and Holt have known each other for more than 35 years and have recorded several CDs together, including the three-volume CD "Legacy," which won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording of 2002.

PNC is the 2007-08 Season Sponsor for Great Performances at Mason.

Tickets for DOC WATSON, HILLS OF HOME are $40, $32, $20. Family Friendly: Children 12 and under half price! Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, the professional presenting arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.