Perhaps many people don’t actually remember who Earl Scruggs is, but the history of American music will always carry his name. Most recognized for his unique three finger playing style, Earl Scruggs has set the trend for all instrumentalists that came after him. This Wednesday, pioneering banjo player Earl Scruggs died in Nashville at age 88.
Earl Scruggs was more than just a banjo player, he was in fact the father of modern country music and his sounds have inspired a lot of the most popular genre celebrities such as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. He received four times a Grammy award and his theme song for the TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies” have won him a high ranking place in the pop culture.
This Wednesday morning Earl Scruggs died in Nashville of natural causes. The funeral service is set for this Sunday at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Family, fans and friends will miss him without a doubt.
Recording Academy President and Chief Executive Neil Portnow saluted the Scruggs picking style and mentioned that Earl “helped popularize the banjo and helped change country music”. From his point of view, Earl Scruggs “leaves an indelible legacy that will be remembered for generations to come”.
Mac Wiseman, flattop guitarist with the Foggy Mountain Boys, said: “I will miss my friend…I’ll remember him as he was when we were together” and promised to attend the funeral service.
Tom T. Hall has often accompanied Earl Scruggs along his bluegrass albums. He said: “You know there’s a lot of people out there, a lot of others. There’s one Earl”.
Ralph Stanley, also a popular name in the industry, stated: “He was one of the first and the best three-finger banjo player. He did more for the five-string banjo than anyone I know”.
Dawe Rawlings, singer songwriter and producer, compared Scruggs with Jimi Hendrix with the mention that in the banjo playing everyone benefited from Earl’s three finger technique that increased “the breath and clarity of the instrument so much”. “He invented a style that now probably 75 percent of the people that play the banjo in the world play Scruggs-style banjo. And that’s a staggering thing to do, to play an instrument and change what everyone is doing”, added Rawlings.