Earl Scruggs and Friends* play "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"
None of us will live forever; and yet the loss of a great musician and human being is still very sad. Earl Scruggs was a legend who helped define bluegrass music. He died Wednesday of natural causes; he was 88 years old. As fellow musician, Bela Fleck, said: “When Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe's [band] his playing propelled bluegrass to the level that we're still talking about it today. … His soulful quality came though. It transcended the music.”
As Fleck explained, Earl Scruggs had great taste and technique. He became known for “playing the banjo, using three fingers in a rotating fashion to create a fast rippling sound that had never been heard before.” By alternating two finger picks and a thumb pick, "he could play as fast as he wanted. This was an incredible leap.”
In addition to being a music pioneer and virtuoso “Banjoman,” Scruggs had great personal integrity, becoming one of the few bluegrass, or country artists to give public support to end the Vietnam War by playing his Grammy Award winning composition, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown" at a 1969 anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. There is footage of the trip, as well as, his thoughts about the demonstration here.
He leaves behind three musician sons, Randy, Gary and Stevie, who held their own, while frequently sharing the stage with their famous father. R.I.P. Mr. Earl Scruggs.
Playing in the top video are:*Earl Scruggs-banjo, Glen Duncan-fiddle, Randy Scruggs-acoustic guitar, Steve Martin-2nd banjo solo, Vince Gill-1st electric guitar solo, Marty Stuart-mandolin, Gary Scruggs-harmonica, Albert Lee-2nd electric guitar solo, Paul Shaffer-piano, Jerry Douglas-dobro, Leon Russell-organ, Glenn Worf-bass, Harry Stinson-drums
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