Live Chat with Chairman Of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Jim Lauderdale

On February 1st, the Merlefest Facebook page hosted a live chat with Jim Lauderdale, chairman of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.
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Feb. 4, 2011 - PRLog -- On February 1st, the Merlefest Facebook page hosted a live chat with Jim Lauderdale, chairman of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.  The winner performs live at Merlefest, the bluegrass music festival founded by Doc Watson in honor of his departed son Merle.  In Blind But Now I See, the no-holds-barred account of Doc Watson's life and career, Dr. Kent Gustavson reveals more about Doc’s relationship with Merle and the great influence Merle had on his father.

Written by Dr. Kent Gustavson, this first-ever biography of the folk and bluegrass icon has become an Amazon Bestseller, reaching #1 in the "Country & Folk" category.  Dr. Gustavson researched the book over a period of six years, and provides not only a comprehensive, but also a critical look at the life of Doc Watson.  Blind But Now I See features dozens of never-before-seen photographs, as well as artistic renderings of Doc Watson’s childhood and career.

The book reveals never-before-released details about Doc Watson’s life, including:

•   The inside story of Doc Watson’s discovery and rise to greatness, from sideman to superstar and from local stages to Carnegie Hall, researched from the private notes of his late discoverer Ralph Rinzler.
•   A full history of Doc’s family, his time at the Raleigh School for the Blind, his family’s deep roots in North Carolina, and his treasured first string instrument: a banjo crafted by his father from the hide of his granny’s old cat.
•   The true story of how Doc’s son, slide guitarist Eddy Merle Watson: his rise to the top, his tragic tractor accident, and his funeral, where friends gathered around his grave to sing "Midnight Rider."

Blind But Now I See is already one of the most talked about books of the year.  Filled to the brim with compelling interviews, that tell Doc Watson's story through the experiences of over 70 notable musicians including:

Abigail Washburn, Alan O’Bryant, Alice Gerrard, Annie Bird, B. Townes, Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, Beppe Gambetta, Clint Howard, Darol Anger, David Grisman, David Moultrup, and more.

Dr. Gustavson--professor, musician, classical composer and author of Blind But Now I See--is currently available for interviews, feature stories and speaking engagements on Doc Watson, his impact on the American music industry, and the evolution of country, folk and bluegrass music.  To schedule an interview with him, please contact Pamela Pelletier at Press materials and review copies are available upon request.

About the Author:

Dr. Kent Gustavson earned his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in New York, where he now teaches music, leadership, and language.  He speaks around the world on both music and publishing, and he has interviewed hundreds of award-winning musicians and authors for his radio show, "Sound Authors."  Dr. Gustavson has released more than a dozen audio recordings on his independent record label, Ninety and Nine Records.  He lives and works in Sound Beach, New York. Visit his Web site ( for more information.

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Blooming Twig, based in New York City, is the publisher of award-winning books that matter, from self-help to children’s fiction. We publish between 15 and 20 new titles each year, and are distributed in the United States and internationally.
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