Legendary Bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs dies

A great light in the music universe has dimmed. Earl Scruggs was as important to the shaping of American music what Hank Williams and Louis Armstrong  A pioneer in banjo player who helped create modern country music and Americana music that is heard in the contemporary work of Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers Bela Fleck.

Scruggs passed away early Wednesday at the age of 88 of natural causes in Nashville. The same town where the sound  he developed with Lester Flatt and the Blue Grass Boys – a fusion of traditional Appalachian with jazz don with extraordinary dexterity often at breakneck speeds, raised eyebrows in that very town. This was decades before Elvis Outlaw movement also sent tongues wagging.

Honky-Tonk great Porter Wagoner perfectly summed up Scruggs’ legacy like this: “I always felt like Earl was to the five-string banjo what Babe Ruth was to baseball. He is the best there ever was, and the best there ever will be.”

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