Bluegrass loses a great Banjo Picker

Hello everyone.   As a banjo player, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the death of Earl Scruggs at 88.  Without question he was the most influencial banjo picker of all time.  His “three finger style” propelled bluegrass into the main stream of American culture.  He is most famous for performing two songs.  The first was brought into our living rooms from the TV series, “Beverly Hillbillies”.  The song of course was “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”.  The second song was the theme song for the movie entitled: “Bonnie and Clyde” and was instrumental song was called:  “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”. 

These two songs are standard equipment for any banjo player that is serious about their playing.  Ironically, the songs are quite different in the skill it takes to play them, with the first one is pretty simple while the second song is fairly complex in the skill level required to make it sound right.

Earl Scruggs has a long musical journey but during his last few years, he played with a lot of famous musicians.  One of these is the actor/comedian, Steve Martin, who is an excellent banjo player himself.  Earl started playing with Bill Monroe and later become very popular with Lester Flatt and the became well known as “Flatt and Scruggs”.  The story goes on and on….

Earl was never one to really want any awards of noteriety, but just wanted to play the music he loved.  He will be missed a lot but his legacy will live on and on.