I Heart Indies

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Earl Scruggs, RIP

Earl Scruggs (1924-2012)


There were banjo players, and there was Earl Scruggs.  These days fame can be achieved, and usually it seems, is achieved, by random no-talent nobodies who strike lucky and rise to prominence on the backs of reality shows, or else former no-talent nobodies who rise over the ashes of their brief has-been careers to exploit themselves as the butt of jokes in other reality shows, but Earl Scruggs was the Real Deal.  He taught himself to play - taught himself!  And of course he had to, because who else would have even dreamed of that lunatic, syncopated, blizzard of notes?  There is a pantheon of musicians that just to hear them is to feel good, and Earl Scruggs was one of them.  You just had to grin to hear that white-water river rhythm and those mad-cap riffs.  And on top of this, Scruggs was a good man.  Like the best of the old-timey country musicians, there was no pretense in him, no humbug.  He was not out to sell some agenda or even himself; he was content to disappear behind his music.  Not that this matters a whit as regards his well-deserved fame.  He would be listened to were he the veriest asshole to trod the earth. He was great because of his musicianship.  He was loved for who he was.

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