Doc Watson, David Grisman and Jack Lawrence \'Shady Grove\' (YouTube)

The man who helped turn the guitar into a lead instrument rather than just background music, Doc Watson, died yesterday, May 29, at the age of 89 in North Carolina.

Watson was well-known for his fast-flat picking style of playing that influenced generations of folk musicians. He was in the hospital in Winston-Salem for abdominal surgery Tuesday when he passed away.

Doc Watson was born March 3, 1923 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He lost his eyesight by the age of 1 when he developed an eye infection that was worsened by a congenital vascular disorder.

Watch the YouTube video of Watson playing 'Shady Grove' with David Grisman on mandolin and Jack Lawrence on guitar to get a sense of some of the good time music he brought to the world.