Bluegrass Gospel music lost a legend this weekend.
And I've lost a friend.
Music is a big part of my life. I love all types of music. I traveled with a Gospel music group for years. One of our mentors, a man who befriended and supported us through out our careers passed away this weekend. Donald Watkins of the Watkins Family, suffered a heart attack during a performance in North Carolina Saturday night. He was 66.
Today the music for me has grown a little quieter.
I've known Donald or "Duck " as we called him, for about as long as I can remember. I remember we bought our first P.A, system from him when we were starting out. And later he was the source for "Big Red" our dinosaur. Our custom coach bus.
I remember going to his house and spending hours in jam sessions. His kids were infants then. As they grew older Donald always bought them the best instruments. I remember Donald telling me once that you'll never play any better than your equipment. His children turned out to be incredibly talented. I guess he was right.
Over the years our musical paths crossed from time to time. Our groups traveled in slightly different yet occasionally overlapping circles. Donald was always ready with advice and ideas. He was always supportive and just plain fun to hang around with.
His group was all family. They traveled over the country and Canada much like we did together living in their bus. Town to town, church to church. They were the first Bluegrass gospel group to ever perform on Capital Hill and were heard by dignitaries from around the world. The Watkins family were loved by everyone.
It will be hard for Judy his wife and the kids after so many years so close together. Yet I expect that family as a group will continue.
Tonight just before you fall asleep remember the Watkins family in your prayers.