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Legendary guitar player Doc Watson has died according to his representatives at Folklore Productions.
The 89-year-old folk and bluegrass guitar legend’s heath issues started on Monday (5-21) Bluegrass Today reported, after a fall at his home. No bones were broken, but the incident exposed other health problems. He was airlifted to the hospital on Wednesday, and late Thursday Watson had surgery to resolve an impacted colon where his entire colon ended up being removed. The procedure was declared successful and Watson was said to be “resting and responsive” afterwards, with Doc’s representative Mitch Greenhill saying, “He has regained some strength. The family appreciates everyone’s prayers and good wishes.” But after a follow-up procedure on Saturday, Watson’s condition never improved from “critical” and he remained in Wake Forest Baptist’s Intensive Care Unit. Doc Watson’s family was called to his bedside at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday (5-27).
Monday morning (5-28) it was reported that Watson’s vital signs had improved slightly overnight after a “very rough Sunday,” though he continued to remain in critical condition in the hospital’s ICU.
Doc Watson has won 7 Grammy Awards over his career, and also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. The blind guitar player is best known for his influential flatpicking and fingerpicking techniques with the guitar, and his oral history of folk, bluegrass, and mountain music. He was born Arthel Lane Watson in 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina, going blind before his first birthday. He got the name “Doc” when a radio announced suggest the name Arthel was too unusual and someone yelled “Doc” out from the crowd.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Doc Watson and his family.
The long-awaited movie about the last days of Hank Williams called The Last Ride has finally been granted a theatrical release. It will begin to be shown in select theaters June 22nd, and in a series of historic theaters starting June 1st.
The movie was previously shown in 7 cities in late October of 2011, mostly around Arkansas where the majority of the movie was shot, and both director Harry Thomason, and Henry Thomas (Elliot from ET) who plays Hank Williams are originally from. At that time it was reported a wide release date would be granted sometime in January of 2012, but that release never came. The film will begin a tour of 10 historic theaters around the country (see dates below) as a partnership with Lou Reda Productions.
To make a small contribution to the restoration to beloved historic theaters around the nation, “The Last Ride” is partnering up with Lou Reda Productions and a number of historic theaters to allow an exclusive screening of the film before it opens widely. I seems appropriate that a film about a historic American like Hank Williams is being used to help restore an important piece of America’s heritage – its movie palaces.
The film will then be shown in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Austin, TX from June through August, with more cities potentially to be added soon.
On January 1st 1953, Williams was scheduled to perform in Canton, OH. Because of bad weather, he couldn’t fly as planned, and hired a college student Charles Carr to drive him. Hank suffered from chronic back problems, and had injected himself with morphine during the trip from Knoxville, TN and also was drinking alcohol. Hank Williams died of heart failure sometime that night with varying accounts of exactly where and when, though a gas station in Oak Hill, WV is given credit as Hank’s final destination. Hank was 29.
The Last Ride is not meant to be a historic portrayal of Hank’s final days, but focuses on the interaction between Williams and his young driver, played by Jesse James. Hank is not called by his real name in the movie, instead traveling under the alias “Mr. Wells.”
The movie seems to be going through the same distribution dilemma many small, independent films get dogged with these days. Two other movies that had strong musical ties, Bloodworth, starring Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, with an appearance by Hank Williams III, and Last Rites of Ransom Pride, also starring Yoakam and Kristofferson, with score and screenplay contributions by Ray Wylie Hubbard both struggled to find distributions channels, leaving curious fans frustrated.
The Last Ride Historic Theater Tour:
||38 W. Franklin Street, Shelbyville, IN 46176
|June 1-3||Corning Opera House||710 Davis Ave, Corning, IA 50841||641.418.8037|
|June 1-7||ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks Campus||101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 18015||610.297.7100|
|June 2||The Ellen Theatre||17 West Main Street, Bozeman, MT 59715||406.585.5885|
|June 2-3||7th Street Theatre||313 7th Street, Hoquiam, WA 98550||360.537.7400|
|June 7||McPherson Opera House||219 South Main Street, McPherson, KS 67460||620.241.1952|
|June 9||Sheridan Opera House||110 North Oak, Telluride, CO 81435||970.728.6363|
|June 15-18||Lincoln Theatre Foundation||313 W. Kincaid Street, Mount Vernon, WA 98273||360.336.8955|
||The Sherman Theater
||524 Main Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360
|July 19-20||Carolina Civic Center Historical Theater||315 North Chestnut Street, Lumberton, NC 28358||910.738.4339|
The Last Ride Theatrical Release
|6/22/2012||New York||Cinema Village ONE WEEK ONLY||22 East 12th St., New York, NY 10003|
|6/29/2012||Los Angeles||Laemmle NoHo 7||5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601|
|7/27/2012||Phoenix||Harkins Shea 14||7354 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260|
|8/10/2012||Atlanta||Lefont Sandy Springs 8||5920 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, GA 30328|
|8/10/2012||Austin||Regal Arbor 8 @Great Hills||9828 Great Hills Trail, Suite 800, Austin, TX 78759|
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