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Earl Scruggs is a bluegrass musician who pioneered the Scruggs Style, a method of banjo playing.
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Other notable late 1970s albums include Family Portrait (1976),
Live from Austin City Limits (1977) and Bold & New (1978).
The Earl Scruggs Revue parted ways in 1982 so that Scruggs' sons could focus on their own careers and lives. Scruggs has continued to record sporadically since that time. He released an album titled The Storyteller and the Banjo Man in 1982 and then a 1983 compilation album called Top of the World. Scruggs was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame alongside Lester Flatts in 1985. More recent albums include Earl Scruggs and Friends (2001) and Three Pickers (2003).
On March 28, 2012, country music lost one of its most legendary talents. Scruggs died of natural causes at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 88. He is survived by two sons, Gary and Randy.
One of the greatest banjoists of all time, Earl Scruggs enshrined his place in the history of bluegrass music when he stumbled across a unique three-finger picking style at the age of ten, going on to perfect it over the course of his long and illustrious career. During his later years, when he experimented with the electric banjo, he helped expand the instrument's traditional repertoire to include rock and roll.
The banjoist Rodney Dillard summed up Scruggs' profound influence on the instrument's history and development like this: "Earl Scruggs created a banjo style with no preconceptions of how it should be done, which gave him the freedom as an innovator and a true creative musician. Banjo styles post-Scruggs are only variations on a theme established by him. Earl is the father and the child of the five string banjo. For me, trying to describe Earl's playing would be very much like taking a black and white photograph of a rainbow."
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The "high, lonesome" style that defines the bluegrass sound comes from the experiences of the music's original composers, the Scots-Irish immigrants of Appalachia. Early bluegrass musician Lester Flatt brought the sound of the genre into the popular lexicon in 1948, when he helped found The Foggy Mountain Boys. He was joined by fellow musician Earl Scruggs, who expertly picked his banjo in the three-finger style that is carried on in the music of bluegrass great Ricky Skaggs. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Alison Krauss snagged more than 26 Grammy awards for putting a contemporary twist on the music of her bluegrass predecessors—proof that the genre still resonantes with listeners.
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