Despite his talents, however, Watson didn’t gain wide acclaim until his 40s, following several pivotal events. The first was a genre-defining folk concert at Greenwich Village’s P.S. 41, followed by a pair of awe-inspiring performances at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. A year later, he released his solo debut. The self-titled album was released on Vanguard Records, a New York-based label with Classical roots which at the time was emerging as a force in folk music, its roster including Joan Baez, The Rooftop Singers and Buffy Sainte-Marie. The album found Watson interpreting a variety of folk, country and blues songs—many of which would become standards for the artist—including the Dorsey Dixon/Wade Mainer tune “Intoxicated Rat,” Dock Boggs’ “Country Blues” and the traditional “Black Mountain Rag.” Watson would go on to release several classic albums with Vanguard in the beginning of his career, which would help to establish him as one of the most influential folk artists of his time.