Thursday, March 29, 2012

A tribute to the pioneering Earl Scruggs

We have lost a tremendous musical talent.
The pioneering bluegrass musician EARL SCRUGGS has died, age 88.
First coming to prominence with BILL MONROE, Scruggs revolutionized the playing of the banjo, as exhibited by his lengthy career with guitar-playing partner LESTER FLATT (1914-1979).
Author Ross Nickerson described Scruggs' contribution to the banjo as "massive."
"Between Lester Flatt's smooth vocals and personable demeanor and Earl Scruggs' tasteful, fluid, driving and exciting banjo playing, they did things with bluegrass music that were never done before and blazed new trails for all bluegrass musicians," Nickerson writes. "It's fair and accurate to say today's most innovative and accomplished five-string banjoists who have expanded the borders of the banjo have all sprung from the Earl Scruggs' style technique, especially his picking rolls."
Most non-musicians probably associate Scruggs and Flatt with the theme tune to "THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES."
Think "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" is a minor novelty tune?
Listen to it. The banjo playing is astonishing in its virtuosity.


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