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Jeff Parker + Matthew Stevens Share “Alberta” From I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 Tribute Album

I Am A Pilgrim Celebrates Doc Watson’s Legacy + Centennial with New Recordings By Dolly Parton, Steve Earle, Valerie June, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Jerry Douglas, Yasmin Williams, Rosanne Cash and More (Out April 28 on FLi Records/Budde Music)


March 23 – Guitarists Jeff Parker and Matthew Stevens have shared a new recording of “Alberta,” featured on a new tribute album to the pioneering legacy of Doc Watson.  I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 will be released April 28 on FLi Records / Budde Music Jeff Parker is an experimental musician that has released a number of acclaimed solo recordings and key projects in the worlds of jazz, electronic, rock and improvisational music.  Matthew Stevens is a GRAMMY-winning guitarist, composer and producer; he produced this loving tribute to Watson, and his many notable credits include his work with esperanza spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington. “Alberta” is Parker and Stevens’ first recording together, a beautiful and warm take on a traditional blues song with a rich history that became a staple of the folk revival, thanks in part to Doc Watson’s embrace of it.  

Listen to “Alberta” featuring Jeff Parker and Matthew Stevens here:

Watson recorded “Alberta” for his 1966 album Southbound, considered a pivotal point in his career for his approach to not only traditional music but also his own original material and reworking of newer country songs of the time.  “Alberta” was also recorded by Bob Dylan (Self Portrait) and Odetta among others.  

Says Parker: “It’s such a privilege to get to make music with my friend, the great guitarist Matthew Stevens, and channel some of the mournful beauty within Doc Watson’s ‘Alberta.’”

I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 celebrates the deep influence and legacy of the North Carolina guitarist, singer and songwriter and features new renditions of some of Watson’s most beloved recordings from his expansive catalog. 

On March 3, which would have been Doc Watson’s 100th birthday, a recording of “I Am A Pilgrim featuring Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal was released and was covered by NPR’s Fresh Air, Garden & Gun, and more. The album announcement issued in February included Dolly Parton’s version of The Last Thing On My Mind,” a song that was written by Tom Paxton, first recorded by Parton in 1967 and performed by Parton and Watson at Merlefest together in 2001.

In addition to Parker, Stevens, Parton and Cash/Leventhal, the album features Nora Brown, Jerry Douglas, Chris Eldridge, Steve Earle, Bill Frisell, Corey Harris, Valerie June, Jack Lawrence, Lionel Loueke, Ariel Posen, Marc Ribot and Yasmin Williams.  It was executive produced by Mitch Greenhill, Matthew Greenhill and Peer Steinwald. 

Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson earned 7 GRAMMY Awards and 23 nominations including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.  He received the National Medal of Arts in 1997 from President Clinton and has been the subject of multiple books, boxed sets and compilation albums.  He was born in Deep Gap, North Carolina on March 3, 1923, grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry, Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family and learned guitar at a young age.  Watson was an integral part of the early 1960s folk revival and became known as one of the greatest flatpicking guitarists of all time, a style that influenced the playing of countless guitarists.  Watson, who lost his eyesight at a young age, was also considered a master of the banjo.  He released nearly 30 albums spanning 50 years and collaborated with Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Del McCoury, Taj Mahal, Mississippi John Hurt, David Grisman and many others.  His work embraced the regional music of North Carolina and he helped to change what people thought about mountain music through his repertoire of traditional and folk recordings.  Watson also presided over MerleFest from its inception in 1988, founded to honor the memory of his son, Merle, as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  Taking place each spring since 1988, MerleFest has become one of the premiere music festivals in the country and I’m A Pilgrim will be released timed to this year’s festival.

I Am A Pilgrim highlights Watson’s talent and charisma and features contributions from Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, numerous GRAMMY Award winners, and several NPR Tiny Desk alumni - interpreting his work through a prismatic lens of folk, bluegrass, blues, jazz, experimental and rock music.  Given Watson’s seismic impact on guitar playing, it’s no surprise that so many guitar playing styles are represented here, from the finger tapping style of Yasmin Williams (“Doc’s Guitar,” a Watson original) to the slide guitar of Ariel Posen (“Will The Circle Be Unbroken”) and the harmonics featured on Lionel Loueke’s version of “Reuben’s Train.”  Valerie June and Bill Frisell join forces for a haunting version of “Handsome Molly,” originally released by Watson in 1961.  Nora Brown, a teenager turning heads with her take on old time music, contributes a moving rendition of the hymn “Am I Born To Die.”  The album concludes with “Your Lone Journey,” a song that Watson penned while mourning his son, and lovingly interpreted here by Bill Frisell. 


I Am A Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100 Track List:

  1. Shady Grove - Jerry Douglas
  2. The Last Thing On My Mind - Dolly Parton
  3. Am I Born To Die - Nora Brown
  4. Alberta - Jeff Parker & Matthew Stevens
  5. Make Me A Pallet - Steve Earle
  6. I Am A Pilgrim - Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal
  7. Florida Blues - Jack Lawrence
  8. How Long Blues - Corey Harris
  9. Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Ariel Posen
  10. Handsome Molly - Valerie June & Bill Frisell 
  11. Doc's Guitar - Yasmin Williams
  12. Little Sadie - Chris Eldridge
  13. Reuben's Train - Lionel Loueke
  14. The Lost Soul - Marc Ribot
  15. Your Lone Journey - Bill Frisell