Thursday, March 29, 2012

Oh, man. Now I'm bummed.

Earl Scruggs dead at 88

This is the first guy to get me interested in the five-string - and also the first guy to discourage me in it. If I couldn't play like that - and I sure couldn't - I didn't want to play.


Kevin Wilmeth said...

Yeah, that is a serious downer.

I arrived at Scruggs backwards, via Bela Fleck and to a lesser extent Tony Trischka. For those guys to speak in such reverent tones--well, it was worth checking out. (Incidentally, that's the same way I found out about the stupefyingly talented mandolinist Jethro Burns, via Sam Bush and David Grisman.)

Only saw him a couple of times, at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival (woulda been late 90s), and it was always an "Earl and friends" kind of show: Earl plus folks that considered him a hero--which was dang near everyone. (The infectious sense of fraternity is one of the things I love so much about bluegrass.)

I suppose this leaves Bill Keith as the elder statesman of record now. Dang, but there were (and are) some good ones.

You know who else this makes me miss? John Hartford. Soul*, chops, and attitude.

* When it came time to choose a piece to play at my wedding for the first dance, there was no contest. I'm still not sure I've heard anything more romantic than that. :-)

Anonymous said...

Kevin, you sure mentioned a few names of my favorites. I was about 12 (in the early 60's) and riding on my bicycle. Came to a small bus (sitting on the street on the A&M campus) with "Flatt & Scruggs" written on the side...the door was open. I stopped and a guy said, "Hey kid, come on in." Both of them were sitting there drinking coffee. They were nice as could be. I do like bluegrass. Always liked the guys in New Grass Revival. So many musicians that played with Bill Monroe became famous in their own right...well I'm just rambling.


Anonymous said...

Jerry Reed could play a banjo pretty well himself, one heckuva player.