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Gaither Carlton

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Biography

The North Carolina fiddler and banjo picker Gaither Carlton learned music from both his immediate family circle as well as his friends and associates around Watauga County, NC. His early musical collaborators included the Hopkins Brothers and old-time music virtuoso G. B. Grayson; and he was exposed much later to the growing audience of the '60s folk music revival through getting invited to play by his son-in-law, who happens to have a bit of a reputation in old-time music. His name is Doc Watson, and when he produced the fascinating Doc Watson Family project, Carlton was naturally one of the first invited. Watson was also much luckier than Tennessee stud Jerry Lee Lewis, totally avoiding scandal when he wed Carlton's daughter, 15-year-old third cousin Rosa Lee Carlton. When the wonderful singer and jug band revivalist Maria Muldaur traveled to the North Carolina mountains to study with Watson, she saved special praise in an interview, including multiple usage of the word "sweet," for Watson's "sweet little ol' father-in-law, Gaither Carlton, ...who just played this real simple, sweet style of old-timey fiddle." Carlton died in Deep Gap, NC, in the early '70s. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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