(photo by Tom Raymond, Fresh Air Photographics)Storyteller Doc McConnell died yesterday, August 16. He was one of the old guard, an Appalachian storyteller who was an integral part of the storytelling revival.
He performed last Saturday night at the National Storytelling Conference. This was the first time I ever witnessed a standing ovation before and after a performance. Doc had been sick, but he walked without assistance onto the stage and perched on a stool. His story was strong and funny, perfect in Doc's tongue-in-cheek style.
I think the first time I ever saw Doc was in Jonesborough in the early 90s, where he performed his old-time medicine show. His storytelling fame took him all over, from the National Storytelling Festival to the Tonight Show to Hee Haw (!). I didn't know Doc well, but often found myself in conversation with him at the conferences. He'll be missed.