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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Farewell Earl Scruggs 1924-2012

I am not sure how it happened or when it happened, but Washington DC is known as the 'bluegrass capitol of the world." It might be because World War Two brought a lot of people out of the mountains to the city for work. Or it might be the DC based Bluegrass bands like Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys or the Seldom Scene. WAMU used to be mostly a bluegrass radio station until all the talking heads took over. At any rate bluegrass music owes a lot of its popularity to a man we have to say good bye to now-Earl Scruggs. His unique syncopated picking style made him the rock star of the banjo, and the theme of the Beverly Hillbillies helped put bluegrass on the national map in 1962.   He protested Vietnam and played his Grammy winning song "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" at an anti-war rally in DC in 1969. And he continued playing almost all his life. Thank you, Mr Scruggs, for making your music something everyone can get a kick out of- bluegrass fans or not- we salute you.


  1. I remember reading somewhere that back in the late 50s/early 60s DC rivaled NYC as a major epicenter in the Folk Revival. Given our position relative to Appalachia and the deep South (where a lot of the source material was coming from) combined with all the jobs the Fed was creating back then, it does make sense.