Wednesday, March 28, 2012

R.I.P. Earl Scruggs

I debated about making note of Earl Scruggs' passing. I'm as familiar with "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" as anybody, but that hardly constitutes being a fan. Yet Scruggs was a giant in his spheres of music (which went beyond strict bluegrass) and it seems only right to acknowledge the loss of a legend, especially when I'm such a sucker for the plaintive touch a well-plucked banjo can add to an ordinary song. R.E.M.'s "Wendell Gee", for instance, is all the more memorable because of the rippling, gentle banjo that slowly dances around the bass line. Scruggs deserves as much credit as anyone for popularizing the banjo so it could find a place in genres beyond bluegrass.

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