RIP to Earl Scruggs, the banjo player extraordinaire who played with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, the Foggy Mountain Boys and Flatt & Scruggs, and whose three-finger picking style was enormously influential in shaping bluegrass music. He died yesterday of natural causes at age 88 in Nashville. A Malcolm Jones tribute is here. Steve Martin called Scruggs "the most important banjo player who ever lived."
David Rawlings, who makes music with Gilian Welch, told the AP, "the breadth and clarity of the instrument was increased so much," he said. "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."
In the clip below, Scruggs show he shows a bunch of young pickers how "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" is done, in 1971.
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