Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earl Scruggs 1924-2012

Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs, who helped profoundly change country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt, has died. He was 88.
Mr., Scruggs graciously contributed a recipe to my Tennessee cookbook “Country Goodness Recipes of Tennessee Celebrities.” He was best known for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” a rollicking number recorded in 1949 with the group the Foggy Mountain Boys. The song was used as the getaway music in the 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde”; and “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song of the 1960s television sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies,” which he performed with Lester Flatt.
He also helped shape the “high, lonesome sound” of Bill Monroe, often called the father of bluegrass, and pioneered modern banjo playing. His innovative use of three fingers in an up-picking style, rather than the mostly two-fingered claw-hammer down-picking technique,
elevated the five-string banjo to a lead or solo instrument.
His family is in our thoughts and prayers. He will be greatly missed.