Thursday, March 29, 2012


"I don't think you'll ever get enough picking."
-Earl Scruggs

I am so very sad to pass this news on. Earl Scruggs, bluegrass picker and superstar, has passed on at the age of 88. He was a legend, having personally written most of the great banjo songs from the genre such as Foggy Mountain Breakdown and many others you've probably heard but don't know by name.

Earl and his Foggy Mountain Boys partner Lester Flatt along with Bill Monroe and legends such as Chubby Anthony and Howard Watts all worked together from time to time, solidifiying and popularizing music that defines Americana. Scruggs was a genius and an innovator, so great with his instrument he almost single handedly returned it to popular use. His skill and ability with the banjo turned it from a comical has been to a serious instrument:
In an article in the New Yorker in January, Martin wrote, "A grand part of American music owes a debt to Earl Scruggs. Few players have changed the way we hear an instrument the way Earl has, putting him in a category with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, and Jimi Hendrix."
Earl Scruggs was a genius and a perfectionist, and from all accounts was a genuinely quiet, decent man. He will be missed, but his music will live on as a powerful legacy amazing and entertaining generation after generation. If you want to see him perform, Netflix has episodes of the Flatt & Scruggs Grand Ole Opry Show on their on demand portion.

If you don't have any of this stuff on your MP3 mix, go get some, now. Its wonderful, talented and genuine folk music, not that breathy, whiny crap from the late 60s.

Rest in peace, Earl Scruggs. God be with your family.


JoelAT said...

I would hazard to say almost everyone knows Earl's Ballad of Jed Klampett.

Eric said...

The Scruggs and Flatt show on Netflix also has a lot of footage from when they were sponsored by Martha White Self Rising Four with Hot Rize... kind of fun to watch those old commercials.

I guess it used to be very popular for flour manufacturers to sponsor musicians. That's how Bob Wills got his start, and of course was memorialized in O Brother Where Art Thou? with Pappy O'Daniel.

Anyway, yes, sad day for music fans. RIP Earl Scruggs.