Day: March 28, 2012

Earl Scruggs, R.I.P.

  Earl. That’s the only name you had to say in bluegrass circles and everyone immediately knew the subject.  Jimmy Martin could open the seminal Will the Circle Be Unbroken album by saying “Earl never did do that,” and you knew exactly what he meant. Few people define an instrument and a musical style so completely as Earl Scruggs, who passed away today at age 88, did for bluegrass banjo.  Bill Monroe will forever be known as the Father of Bluegrass, but it wasn’t until he brought a young Earl Scruggs on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium for a Grand Ole Opry show in 1945 that the full sound of bluegrass was realized.  I’ll let Richard Smith, author of Can’t You Hear Me Calling:  The Life of Bill Monroe, pick up the story from here. “For Earl’s first night on the Opry, Monroe picked out a fast number that would show off the newcomer’s dazzling style — “White House Blues,” an old song recounting the 1901 William McKinley assassination.  It was a perfect selection.  …