• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Earl Scruggs, RIP

Aw, man:


Earl Scruggs, whose distinctive picking style and association with Lester Flatt cemented bluegrass music's place in popular culture, died Wednesday of natural causes at a Nashville hospital, his son Gary Scruggs said. He was 88.

"I realize his popularity throughout the world went way beyond just bluegrass and country music," Gary Scruggs told CNN. "It was more than that."

Yeah, "way beyond bluegrass and country" -- Scruggs was a virtuoso and experimenter who blended many types of music -- but many of us will be forever grateful for what he brought to bluegrass. He didn't invent three-finger banjo picking (as opposed to the clawhammer technique), but he did the most to popularize it. Bill Monroe is generally given credit as the father of bluegrass, but many argue that it was Scruggs' banjo playing that gave the music its distinctive sound.

Posted in: All about me, Music


Harl Delos
Thu, 03/29/2012 - 10:04am

Lester and Earl met as members of Bill Monroe's group, the Blue Hills Boys in 1946, before forming the Foggy Mountain Boys.

They performed the theme song for "The Beverly Hillbillies" with Jerry Scoggins singing.  That was their only #1 hit on the country charts (and the only other TV theme song to chart at #1 was "Dukes of Hazard").

It seems a shame that bluegrass is extinct on the airwaves.  When the C&W stations became "country" stations, they banished the western songs and the bluegrass songs and replaced country songs with rock.  It's not that country is bad, but I always kinda liked groups like Nancy Lee & the Hilltoppers, and the performers on Midwestern Hayride.