Magic and Music: Remembering Earl Scruggs

Hello! Lord Kronos here, and this post is a little different than what I would usually do but it has been on my mind and I can’t get it out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Earl Scruggs lately.  Earl Scruggs was a bluegrass musician who played the banjo. Earl_Scruggs_2005Perhaps it is because next week (March 28th) will be the three year anniversary of his death that I have him on my mind. I remember seeing him for the first time as a kid when watching The Beverly Hillbillies. I was intrigued by the “weird shaped guitar” that he played.  It was my inspiration for liking bluegrass although I wouldn’t get farther into bluegrass until later in my life.

What drew me to Mr. Scruggs though.  It wasn’t just the banjo or the music itself. It was something else.  I think it was only recently in my life that I figured it out.  It was how no matter what, you could always tell how much he loved performing. Throughout his life he performed with many musicians and was willing to branch out into different genres.  He revolutionized banjo playing with the three-pick “Scruggs-style,” but yet was a humble man.

As I begin to think more on it, I begin to understand what drew me to this man’s music, and eventually to the banjo itself. It was that his music seemed so…real.  I really can’t think of another way to put it.  It’s like the difference between having a glass of milk for dinner or a full three course meal.  Both give nourishment, but one leaves you more full and satisfied. I find myself watching videos of Earl perform just to engage in the music and the environment Mr. Scruggs can only now give through recordings. There’s a truth to it.

To be honest, my thoughts are hard to put into words.  I’ve spent a long time on this rather short post.  As Hans Christian Anderson said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” With that in mind, I’m going to stop typing pretty soon.  I’m going to instead give you some music to speak to you.  I request that you listen, not only with your ears, but with your heart as well. Above is “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” one of his most well known pieces, and below, well that’s just one of the most important lessons Mr. Scruggs taught me – what music is really about.

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