Friday, 6 April 2012

Earl Scruggs remembered for banjo excellence

Earl Scruggs remembered for banjo excellence  

Earl Scruggs' banjo is displayed center stage
 during his funeral service at the Ryman Auditorium
 on Sunday, April 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn.
In foreground is the casket.
Scruggs died on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
 He was 88. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, Pool)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Earl Scruggs was remembered Sunday April 1, 2012 as an influential, helpful and humble banjo player who put his own mark on bluegrass music. Some 2,300 mourners attended Scruggs' public funeral at the Ryman Auditorium, where he played his songs for years on the Grand Ole Opry country music show and recorded his final album. Sunday evening, the Academy of Country Music paid tribute to Scruggs at its annual awards show in Las Vegas.

"No one will ever play the banjo like Earl," Charlie Daniels, better known for his fiddle and guitar playing, told mourners in Nashville. Daniels recalled that when he was a young studio musician, Scruggs invited him to join the Earl Scruggs Revue.
Country star Ricky Skaggs said Scruggs "was the most humble musician I ever met. "He was always listening not at himself but at the next generation."

Bluegrass great Del McCoury told the gathering that he was enthralled as a youngster by the Scruggs' sound - "If not for Earl Scruggs, I might not have played music at all," said McCoury, a guitarist. Among the mourners was Von Moye, who drove from Flat Top, W.Va., for the funeral - "He had a gift," Moye, a banjo player himself, said before the service. "He took three fingers and gave it a whole new style."
Scruggs' closed casket sat just below the famous stage, with a banjo just behind it (reuters photo). A dozen floral arrangements decorated the stage.

Performers during the service included McCoury, Skaggs (photo), Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Jon Randall Stewart, John McEuen, Jim Mills, Marty Stuart and Patty Loveless. ( photo photo photo - photo

Earl Scruggs funeral Service at The Ryman
Standing ovation (AP Photo) 
 The large crowd gives a standing ovation during the funeral service for banjo great and bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs at the Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, April 1, 2012, in Nashville. Scruggs died Wednesday, March 28, 2012. He was 88. - Joe Howell, Pool /AP Photo -  

The funeral was near a cluster of downtown honky-tonks where Scruggs' music is still played. His plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame is three blocks away.

WAMU Bluegrass Country's Jerry Gray, who passed away this past February, interviews Earl Scruggs:


FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Flowers are placed on the Star along Hollywood's Walk of Fame for musician Earl Scruggs

Further Tributes:

NPR -  The importance of Earl Scruggs as told by his followers (Tony Trischka, Bela Fleck and Steve Martin) >>  NPR Audio

Rhonda Vincent pays tribute to Earl Scruggs: “We had a nice visit, like normal people. Then Earl pulled out his banjo, and we were invited to join in. I must have shook my head in disbelief, thinking my ears were deceiving me. Earl Scruggs just asked us to jam in his living room? I must be dreaming!
This was my first correlation that perhaps someday I could be that person someone was listening to on the Grand Ole Opry. It was like a graduation of sorts, a new confidence. After all, I had now jammed with the greatest innovator of the banjo — Earl Scruggs
Read the full article Rhonda Vincent on Earl Scruggs

Journalist Peter Cooper of the Tennessean remembers the musician and the man

Earl Scruggs Funeral Audio - Listen to the Celebration of Life for Earl Scruggs from the Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, April 1 that was broadcast live on 650 AM WSM.Hosted by WSM broadcaster Eddie Stubbs he and a host of musicians pay tribute to the legendary Earl Scruggs (includes live performances) Listen here

SOURCES - Associated Press (April 1, 2012), WSM Online, Reuters, Charlotteobserver.com

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